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A more passenger-friendly 'Coast Starlight' timetable


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#1 unitedstatesfan

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Posted 11 August 2016 - 11:29 PM

The present 'Coast Starlight' timetable has its advantages, especially with the 'tourist friendly' departure times from Los Angeles Union Station and Seattle King Street.

 

However, the late arrivals in both (compounded by unpunctuality fairly often) are relatively unattractive.

 

Perhaps commuter trains such as the 'Sounders' around Seattle and Metrolink around Los Angeles are a hindrance, but wouldn't it be sensible to bring forward each departure by an hour?

 

Northbound, as well as hopefully enabling an earlier Seattle arrival, it would also mean a more passenger-friendly arrival and departure time from the major intermediate stop of Sacramento.

 

Of course it may make connections from San Diego northbound challenging.

 

What do others think (I'm only a foreigner, but one who has travelled extensively by rail worldwide)?  As Amtrak's most popular LD train (average patronage each way of about 620 passengers, though not all aboard at once), it deserves the best possible timetable.


Edited by unitedstatesfan, 11 August 2016 - 11:31 PM.


#2 TiBike

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:25 AM

An hour earlier would  be great, from a Californian perspective (assuming the San Diego connection is solvable). Two hours better. Three fantastic. But that's what the Coast Daylight plan is all about (except that wouldn't do much good north of Sacramento).

 

But yeah, I've always wondered why the northbound departure is so late.


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Shinkansen • TranzAlpine (NZ) • Northern Explorer (NZ) • Coastal Pacific (NZ) • Great Southern Rail Overland (Oz) • Tze-Chiang Limited (ROC) • Thello Venice-Paris

#3 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:50 AM

I am okay with the current schedule, but I don't think #14's departure should be a bit earlier. A departure of three hours earlier northbound is unrealistic from my statement, as the departure out of Klamath Falls heading north would be at around 5am, which is an hour earlier than 1970s CS schedule. 8am departure is early enough for me. Anything earlier than that is not very good, as that may require me forgoing sleep the night before (or sleeping that afternoon) just to catch #14 out of my home station, or having to detrain on the wee hours of morning when coming up from California on the homebound trip, which I see these two cases as unrealistic.


Just a 23 year old college student who likes to travel by train.

Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015

Commuter/Transit Rail (US): Metra, TriMet, SoundTransit, Muni, LA MetroRail

Trains/Transit taken (Outside US and Canada): KNR, SMSC, SMRT, IRTC, DJET, DX LINE, EVERLINE, HUMETRO, METRO9

Ambus trips: BFD-LAX, EMY-SFC

Current Amtrak mileage: 17251 miles plus 130 Ambus miles


#4 BCL

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 12:54 AM

I'm pretty sure that Union Pacific has a say in this too.

 

The commuter trains shouldn't be that big an issue.  They're faster and shorter that freight trains and generally travel at about the same speed as Amtrak.  I thought that the issue with freight trains is that they travel slower and that creates issues dealing with that.

 

I would note that Caltrain owns tracks around San Jose that the Coast Starlight uses.  There's probably not much issue with one train a day and barely any overlap of the tracks.



#5 unitedstatesfan

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:09 AM

I am okay with the current schedule, but I don't think #14's departure should be a bit earlier. A departure of three hours earlier northbound is unrealistic from my statement, as the departure out of Klamath Falls heading north would be at around 5am, which is an hour earlier than 1970s CS schedule. 8am departure is early enough for me. Anything earlier than that is not very good, as that may require me forgoing sleep the night before (or sleeping that afternoon) just to catch #14 out of my home station, or having to detrain on the wee hours of morning when coming up from California on the homebound trip, which I see these two cases as unrealistic.

Worldwide, 0715 hours (one hour earlier than at present for the departure of train 14 northbound from  Klamath Falls) is hardly the 'wee hours of the morning.'

 

Plenty of people can go to bed if need be at 2100 hours and wake up at say 0530 or 0600 to catch an 0715 hours train.  Mind you, I don't know how far you live from the Klamath Falls station.


Edited by unitedstatesfan, 12 August 2016 - 01:09 AM.


#6 A Voice

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:24 AM

An hour earlier departure of the Coast Starlight from Los Angeles would break a connection from train 3, the westbound Southwest Chief, which arrives at 8:15.  



#7 bmjhagen9426

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 01:40 AM

 

I am okay with the current schedule, but I don't think #14's departure should be a bit earlier. A departure of three hours earlier northbound is unrealistic from my statement, as the departure out of Klamath Falls heading north would be at around 5am, which is an hour earlier than 1970s CS schedule. 8am departure is early enough for me. Anything earlier than that is not very good, as that may require me forgoing sleep the night before (or sleeping that afternoon) just to catch #14 out of my home station, or having to detrain on the wee hours of morning when coming up from California on the homebound trip, which I see these two cases as unrealistic.

Worldwide, 0715 hours (one hour earlier than at present for the departure of train 14 northbound from  Klamath Falls) is hardly the 'wee hours of the morning.'

 

Plenty of people can go to bed if need be at 2100 hours and wake up at say 0530 or 0600 to catch an 0715 hours train.  Mind you, I don't know how far you live from the Klamath Falls station.

 

I only live like three miles from the station. Granted, I can get to/from the station by taxicab in 10 minutes, so getting to/from the station is no big deal. And I can deal with a 7am departure good enough. 6am, probably, 5am, might be a bit too early. Forgot to mention, if #14's departure is made earlier by two or three hours, the connection from #3 is broken.


Just a 23 year old college student who likes to travel by train.

Trains taken (US): Coast Starlight, San Joaquins, Empire Builder, Southwest Chief, Hoosier State, SP4449 excursion 2015

Commuter/Transit Rail (US): Metra, TriMet, SoundTransit, Muni, LA MetroRail

Trains/Transit taken (Outside US and Canada): KNR, SMSC, SMRT, IRTC, DJET, DX LINE, EVERLINE, HUMETRO, METRO9

Ambus trips: BFD-LAX, EMY-SFC

Current Amtrak mileage: 17251 miles plus 130 Ambus miles


#8 seat38a

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 02:14 AM

Lets also not forget, that the CS sched is blended in with 3 corridors. 

 

Surfliner: Between train 763 and 769.

 

Capitol Corridor:

San Jose: Last train going north after train 548

Oakland North: Between 548 and 550

 

Cascades:

Between 516 and 508 going north

 

The CS seems to fill in what would be big gaps in the corridor between trains, which I'm guessing helps the corridor with ridership by giving people more options and also helps to increase riders on the CS. Having seem and also been on the CS from end to end. The number of people boarding where it shares the route with the corridors is huge (Just from observations). LAX to SBA and PDX north seems to be pretty busy.



#9 jis

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 08:20 AM

For reasons that seat38 mentions above, changing the timings of 14 is not trivial. It does have to mesh into several other schedules and there is also the pesky issue of convenient a timely crossings on extensive single track route with often relatively infrequent crossing sidings.


Edited by jis, 18 August 2016 - 11:10 AM.


#10 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 12 August 2016 - 08:57 AM

In reality the argument is San Diego (via Surfliner) vs. Sacramento. In any schedule shift, there will always be winners and losers.

 

I'd personally like to see the CS travel overnight between LAX and the Bay Area but that would put PDX in the graveyard shift. The Spirit of California (http://www.timetable...21031&item=0053) would've been great for me. I have traveled between the Bay Area and Los Angeles several times I have family in both areas) and the CS is completely impractical for me. Last time I did the Thruway Bus San Jose to Santa Barbara and then Surfliner to Irvine. To me, California High Speed Rail between San Fran and LA can't get here soon enough. Maybe one day you can take a train from LA to San Fran without changing trains or using buses.


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 12 August 2016 - 09:03 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)!
 
 


#11 maxbuskirk

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Posted 13 August 2016 - 12:22 PM

I think it's good enough as it is, maybe move it forward 20-25 minutes, but that's about it. After that, you'd be breaking connections from San Diego #763, SWC #3, and Bakersfield #703. Unless you move both of them forward, but that would put San Diego before 6am.

Or ask UP *really really nicely* to let Amtrak go over the . . hahaha no that's never gonna happen.
So that's it.

LAX 945A
SBA 1208P/1215P
SLO 257P/310P
SJC 746P/758P
OKJ 859P/914P
SAC 1134P
KFS 742A/752A
EUG 1204P/1211P
PDX 307P/337P
SEA 747P
But on the plus side, more time for the EB connection!

Edited by maxbuskirk, 13 August 2016 - 06:06 PM.

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).


#12 Lazy Z

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 10:59 AM

I dont care for getting in at 9pm in Los Angeles :)

LAX - PDX  and back June 2012

LAX - PDX and back July 2014

LAX - CHI and back April 2015

LAX - PDX - SEA - PDX - LAX April 2016

 

Next trip planned FUL - CHI - NYP - WAS - FUL August 2016

 

My daughter's fear of flying has really opened up a fun world!!  Train travel!! Woo Hoo!!

 

:)  :) 


#13 maxbuskirk

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Posted 18 August 2016 - 02:31 PM

That would put Sacramento before 6am.
SEA 900A
PDX 115P/150P
EUG 428P/435P
KFS 915P/925P
SAC 600A
OKJ 800A/815A
SJC 920A/932A
SLO 232P/245P
SBA 520P/527P
LAX 825P

Edited by maxbuskirk, 21 August 2016 - 05:39 PM.

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).


#14 maxbuskirk

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 05:25 PM

Also, Coast Nightlight?

LAX 810P
SBA 1033P/1040P
SLO 122A/135A
SJC 611A/623A
OKJ 724A/739A
EMY 754A/804A
SAC 959A

Adds another Pac-Surf frequency and replaces Capitol 524 with a not too long-distancy train. Maybe move 524 back?

SAC 435P
EMY 610P/620P
OKJ 635P/650P
SJC 755P/807P
SLO 107A/120A
SBA 355A/402A
LAX 700A

Edited by maxbuskirk, 21 August 2016 - 05:38 PM.

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).


#15 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 05:42 PM

Also, Coast Nightlight?

LAX 810P
SBA 1033P/1040P
SLO 122A/135A
SJC 611A/623A
OKJ 724A/739A
EMY 754A/804A
SAC 959A

Adds another Pac-Surf frequency and replaces Capitol 524 with a not too long-distancy train. Maybe move 524 back?

SAC 435P
EMY 610P/620P
OKJ 635P/650P
SJC 755P/807P
SLO 107A/120A
SBA 355A/402A
LAX 700A

 

I would love these schedules. I think SJC northbound might be a bit early but necessary to make a connection with the eastbound CZ at EMY/SAC. This would not only give overnight LA-SF but LA to SLC/DEN. Maybe push the southbound back to give more of a buffer from the westbound CZ.


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)!
 
 


#16 maxbuskirk

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Posted 21 August 2016 - 10:19 PM

I was thinking of my schedule shifted #2 when creating the southbound schedule.

Otherwise, shift it back 1.5 hours, which doesn't disrupt anything else, and leaves a good gap between it and #768.

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).


#17 Anderson

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Posted 26 August 2016 - 03:44 AM

I've said before and I'll say again that, provided equipment were available, an overnight LAX-Bay Area train would likely be a winner.  From what I've anecdotally read, the reason the Spirit of California ran into as much trouble as it did (ignoring the shift in who was in the Governor's Mansion...Brown getting a third term in '82 would make a difference) was because it was set up to run coach-heavy but the traffic was sleeper-heavy since it was a "full overnight".  The result was packed sleepers and empty coaches for much of the route.  Oops.

 

As it stands, presuming cooperation from UP (which is always a big question mark) there's probably room to roughly merge an existing Surfliner schedule and Capitol Corridor schedule together over much of the route and get the desired train from LAX-SAC (SAN being a plausible-but-not-mandatory addition).  I have to wonder how much more it would cost to do this vis-a-vis the present costs (as well as how much added revenue you might generate from such to offset it).


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#18 fairviewroad

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:15 AM

What do others think (I'm only a foreigner, but one who has travelled extensively by rail worldwide)?  As Amtrak's most popular LD train (average patronage each way of about 620 passengers, though not all aboard at once), it deserves the best possible timetable.

 

Perhaps a main reason why it's Amtrak's most popular long distance train has a lot to do with its current schedule. Why mess with success?

 

I would suggest looking at Amtrak's least popular LD train and seeing what could be done instead.



#19 jis

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:29 AM

Make the two least popular LD trains daily from three times a week before gratuitously fiddling with their schedules, would be my take. :)

 

I know armchair schedule fiddling is a major hobby around here, and this might be an unpopular position. ;)



#20 Bob Dylan

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Posted 19 September 2016 - 11:32 AM

Make the two least popular LD trains daily from three times a week before gratuitously fiddling with their schedules, would be my take. :)
 
I know armchair schedule fiddling is a major hobby around here, and this might be an unpopular position. ;)

Ditto! Well played!
 
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