In the US I have been involved in passenger rail advocacy in some way shape or form for only 37 years, so yeah not 43 years.
My goal in these discussions is to identify things that need to change for an idea to work. I offer these observation irrespective of whether I think the proposal is stupid or not.
For example in this immediate case the issue I see us that the current equipment is inappropriate for the sort of frequent coupling, uncoupling and shunting that would be involved. Past equipment was better suited for such, as are quite a bit of coaching stock in Europe and the non-EOG equipment in India.
Thirdrail was also pointing out why current practices won't make these proposals easy to implement. An appropriate discussion could be along the lines of 1. Do these proposals make sense as a part of a broader strategy? And 2. If so what needs to change and what would be the possible return for the cost of making those changes?
However, when people turn out to be so thin skinned as to start attacking motives and taunting, I start wondering why bother?
Indeed, Jis. While I can agree that these proposals may seem like it is part of a broader strategy that increases available trains and routes, in real life, these ideas must weighed against items such as costs, value, acceptability and feasibility.
At least I'm trying to propose ideas to improve the Amtrak map, serve more cities, eliminate transfers. What are the rest of you doing? Satisfied with the status quo? You may be happy with the Amtrak system. I'm not. There's plenty of holes in it. And if you're not happy with Amtrak service, do you have any ideas to make it better?
If you actually read something other than your own threads, you'd see that you're not that novel. There are plenty of proposals form board members. If you run over to Railroad.net, you'll see that I've made proposals...and unlike your proposals, I actually balance the fleet. However, not unlike yourself, I don't assign costs since there are many factor that go into them.
I'd love to see more trains. Hell, I've watched trains come and go as gaps in the network grew. However, there are severe limitations such as costs, finances, equipment availability. As such, I know that the even the proposals I've endorsed and recommended will not come to fruition because I don't have a few billion dollars to get the trains I want running, let alone maintained.
Who is putting up the money? Where is the equipment coming from? What do the hosts have to say? These are all reasonable questions, which when brought up to you....well, you pout and sulk. That is the very nature of "input." These are the limitations...what is your plan for overcoming them?
If you go to RR'net, and do a search of my posts, you'd see that I've said some very disparaging things about your favorite train, the Pigeon. I've also attacked the Downeasters and a few other trains. However, I'm wise enough to know without them, there wouldn't be others, including the NEC. This is particularly true at a time like this.
I want everyone in this thread to put on their thinking caps and ponder this:
How much equipment is unavailable these days? How many cars have been lost since January 1, 2015? How many of the NEW baggage cars are currently out of service and will not be available for some time? ACS-64s? Diesels? Did anyone realize there was yet another diesel vs truck incident today?
It is to the point that even the mighty NEC is losing cars to prop up off corridor trains due to equipment being damaged in accidents, held up in lawsuits or just falling apart from constantly being on the go. So, unless someone is putting up BILLIONS to maintain what is already operating (by congressional mandate), I look at these proposals as "ideas" that may seem nice, but have little realistic chance of occurring. Unless someone pays, the gaps are going to get larger.
As I've stated before, the bane of my existence is not being able to bury you with service proposals and route analysis studies that have occurred. They are way deeper than most of what has been proposed, and they have costs, potential ridership numbers, equipment counts etc. They would make your mind melt. If you want to do something, why not file a FOIA request and see if they will grant you access?
in the meantime, if I see a good idea, i chime in. When the thread passed about the second Pennsylvanian, I found the slot, equipment, times and balanced the fleet.
If I see a bad idea, I will indicate why it is bad...just as I did above. There are threads that cover the limitations of operating East of New York. I started a thread on Railroad.net on operations east of NYC when I mentioned extending a Florida train to Bos. That was at least 4 years ago. In that time, some of the bridges that caused the train count have been rebuilt. However, there is much more work to be done. So, it will be interesting to see if the Coast Guard amends the cap in 2018, when they are up for review.
However, if more slots are found, is it better to operate a small long distance train, with its limited revenue potential (but greater direct network access) or restore the two canceled Acela trains, with their high revenue potential?
That is a real discussion, with real consequences, that requires real knowledge of how Metro-North and/or CSX (if you choose the inland route) bills Amtrak for passage. Is it by the number of trains? Is it by hour of the day (premium slot vs off peak slot?) Is it by number of cars? How much would servicing cost? Storage? Maintenance? Wear and tear? How do these items stack up to the benefits of the proposals?
These are just a few of the things that come into play and this is the reason why you don't see a ton of passenger operations. This is a very expensive operation. Even commuter services that carry thousands of people a day can't cover their costs. So, imagine some of the states, facing a budget shortfall deciding to subsidize some of suggestions the members of this board make.
Does that mean give up? No, but carping on a board without lobbying (and I do pay into a lobbying group) is just internet banter.