If this list is without consideration of money, feasibility or whether it passes operational muster....and deals STRICTLY with what we WANT to see if we had money and equipment, I accept your list and add a few of my own "personal" projects.
I want the Auto train extended!
Shut up everyone....it's my list!!
Just hear me out, Ok?
When the GM plant in Linden, NJ closed and with the high speed catenary construction poised to begin and CSX planning on upgrades to its Virginia Avenue tunnel, I lobbied for leasing the former Conrail yard and propping up the Auto train. You'd capture a larger segment of travel and the location to that yard is ideal.
I proposed two segments that split/merged. The passenger consist would run between Linden, NJ and Sanford, Florida. You'd load the appropriate passengers and their cars in the auto racks at Linden and depart for Lorton. Upon arrival at Lorton, passengers would step into the consist just like they board any other train en route. However, their cars would already be loaded in another set of Auto racks in Lorton. When the main train came in, the crew would add the additional Lorton auto racks to the rear end, and the train would continue south.
Northbound, the train would depart Sanford. Upon arrival in Lorton, the passengers for Lorton would disembark and a crew would grab the Lorton bound auto racks. After they are cut off, the train would continue to Linden with the rest of the passengers and their cars.
Limitations include the need for another set of Superliners, the obvious costs of the facility and a few places where the catenary would need to be raised. The gauntlet track in the B&P tunnel would need to be restored and the route between the Philadelphia bypass and Amtrak (The High Line) would need restoration. Additionally, it is contingent on Amtrak chipping in for CSX's Virginia Ave tunnel project to allow passenger operation. This is because the trains would not be able to enter of go through Washington DC. It would have to use the Landover Line (the bypass) through Anacostia. That line used to allow for 50mph operation. That's not too bad for its length and throw in a truck upgrade for the auto carriers and the train could do 90 mph in some spots on the NEC.
Another variation of this move was to use the former Chrysler Auto Plant Yard in Newark, Delaware (just south of Wilmington). It is convenient to route 95, 495, 141, 279, 13, and route 1. Originating the train at Chrysler would save billions in upgrades since most of the route between Chrysler and Landover is already set up for Auto Rack operation (since it was an auto plant.) You may be able to squeak by using the existing set up if you originate at Chrysler, but you'd need a good move (and we know that is unlikely in the summer.)
Ok, you can laugh now.
Additional wish list items include:
The previously mentioned through Florida trains to Bos, linking North and South station Boston to allow the Downeasters to run into south station, easing connections.
Restoration of the Broadway. At the very minimum, another Pennsylvanian which is likely to occur.
Restoration of the inland route.
Restoration the the Gulf Breeze section of the Crescent, splitting the consist at BHM for operation to MOE. This allows for much needed additional capacity between NYP-ATL while serving another market. The train could possibly meet a restored Gulf Coast trains for better route between ATL and points in Florida.
Restoration of the Cape Codder, a weekend train from Nyp to Cape Cod. It performed quite well when it operated. It was cut due to equipment constraints and the associated costs. They tried running it as a New England express to Boston, with a transfer to an MBTA set of equipment at PVD for points on the Cape. This sank the service since as previously indicated, some people really hate transferring...especially to a commuter set of equipment.
An additional stand alone train from NYP to CLT via Roanoke. I actually timed this train on another board and found equipment ( you can start here and read the next few posts). Unfortunately, I wasn't pleased with the return train operating as scheduled NEC train. There was just too much room for error with little chance for manipulation. However, that was with the current fleet plan and constraints. If equipment isn't an issue, run it as a stand alone train with passengers being received/discharged only on the NEC. Why not? We're rich, funded and flushed with equipment in this La La land. Plus, the host railroads love us all of a sudden. We might as well extend the damn thing to Columbia while we're at it. This would provide additional service to Charlottesville and Lynchburg as well, giving them a better pattern of service.
Restoration of the Montrealer with its original consist, including the piano bar, sleeping car and cafeteria car. This train ran quite well and had a good amount of patronage even though it ran in the middle of the night between the main cities. That may have been the point though. It was canceled when the route (NECR) basically fell apart.
Restoration of the Sunday only Niagara Rainbow, which ran overnight train from Toronto to NYP. This train also ran surprisingly well. That's because people in the 90's certainly knew how to party. Equipment losses killed this train.
Here's one that is low hanging fruit and may be the feasible. Through WAS-ALB-MTR service. This was done be cutting an engine and few cars and adding an engine to the opposite end of a scheduled NEC train. It was a bit unreliable though due to the late connections south/west bound.However, the north/east train ran like a champ!
A daily Cardinal would be nice, I suppose. Why not? We're rich! We'll finally be able to see if increased service would enhance the route.
Restoration of a daily Pioneer and Desert Wind. They could split away from the Zephyr like days of old, but if additional equipment is available and we're flush with cash, the portion between CHI-DEN could see three trains a day provided the timing works. They key point is daily operation of each section. None of this Pioneer runs three days, the Desert Wind runs three days and everyone takes Sunday off! It needs to be a daily operation.
This would plug a few holes in the system network including providing service to Wyoming. Additionally, it would restore service to the city I like pronouncing the most: Winnemucca. Say it with me: Winnemucca. Now, say it fast! Winnemuccawinnemuccawinnemuccawinnemucca. Pocatello is fun to say too, but nothing beats Winnemucca.
Had enough yet? I have...for now. I'm sure I can think of a few more when my brain is fully charged.