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Northeast Regional Norfolk, VA service


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#1 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 09:45 PM

Regarding the Northeast Regional (NER) and service to Norfolk, VA (NFK):

 

What I would like to see happen are changes to the schedule between NFK and RVR which would allow for shorter layovers in Richmond and reduce (or eliminate) the need for the thruway bus between NFK and Newport News (NPN).

 

I live in Portsmouth, VA, but if I want the option of a shorter RVR layover (and not worry about the bus) I would need to travel to NPN to catch the train.   I live closer to the Norfolk station so I would prefer to use that one.

 

 


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#2 Thirdrail7

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 11:21 PM

Regarding the Northeast Regional (NER) and service to Norfolk, VA (NFK):

 

What I would like to see happen are changes to the schedule between NFK and RVR which would allow for shorter layovers in Richmond and reduce (or eliminate) the need for the thruway bus between NFK and Newport News (NPN).

 

I live in Portsmouth, VA, but if I want the option of a shorter RVR layover (and not worry about the bus) I would need to travel to NPN to catch the train.   I live closer to the Norfolk station so I would prefer to use that one.

 

 

 

 

Hi.

 

You're new here so first of all, I'd like to say welcome!

 

Masswelcomemat.jpg

 

 

Secondly, I'm not sure I understand your post. What is the duration of the layover in Richmond? What services are you utilizing because it doesn't seem the existing services have significant layovers in RVR.

 

Additionally, although more trains are slated for NFK in the future, the current set up for NFK does not leave room for multiple train storage nor long trains.

 

Finally, the future of direct NPN service may be in jeopardy.


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#3 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 11:32 PM

I am guessing it is referring to southbound connections at RVR. Also, why is the NPN service in jeopardy?
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#4 Triley

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Posted 13 November 2016 - 11:52 PM

I am guessing it is referring to southbound connections at RVR. Also, why is the NPN service in jeopardy?

 

I was wondering the same thing.  I thought I had seen plans for a new station, complete with a high level platform and all.  Did I dream them up?  :giggle:


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#5 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 07:53 AM

Yes, I failed to mention that it's for southbound connections out of RVR.

 

Next year, I MIGHT be taking the train to Orlando (ORL), which would be either on the SS or the SM.  I haven't looked to see what the layover times are for northbound trains, so the times might be shorter.

 

For southbound trains, one layover time I saw on the Amtrak website was over 9 hours.


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#6 afigg

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 10:20 AM

Yes, I failed to mention that it's for southbound connections out of RVR.

 

Next year, I MIGHT be taking the train to Orlando (ORL), which would be either on the SS or the SM.  I haven't looked to see what the layover times are for northbound trains, so the times might be shorter.

 

For southbound trains, one layover time I saw on the Amtrak website was over 9 hours.

The schedule for the current NFK service with it's early AM weekday departure from NFK is aimed at providing contractors and military personnel in the Norfolk area the ability to make day trips to DC. So the train departs NFK very early, the return trip departs WAS circa 4 PM.  This is what VDRPT wants (and pays for). Southbound connections at RVR is not a consideration for VDRPT. 

 

It won't help you next year, but the expansion of NFK service to 3 daily trains is in the Six Year Improvement Plan budget. VA is expending considerable funds to add capacity south of RVR to the CSX tracks to allow for 2 additional trains to NFK and to improve trip times for the NFK trains. The FY17 6 year out budget has the subsidy for the 2nd train added in state FY2019 which starts on July 1, 2018; the 3rd daily NFK train starting in FY22. So the 2nd daily NFK train may be added sometime in the Fall of 2018. The 2nd train might provide better southbound connection options at RVR or PTB. Or not, no word on what the schedule will be.  



#7 LookingGlassTie

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Posted 14 November 2016 - 12:24 PM

Thanks for the info!


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#8 Anderson

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 02:28 AM

LookingGlassTie,
I live over in Newport News, so I feel your pain.  Long, long ago I gave up trying to connect out of Hampton Roads to head to Florida (I take the train that way about 4-5 times per year) and just got used to driving/riding to RVR.

 

The connecting times from the evening train from NPN isn't horrible, but it's still a 2:30-ish layover at a suburban station without a whole lot obviously around it.  The other connection pairs are, however, somewhat toxic (Star-to-Regional is something like five hours, Meteor-to-Regional is close to the same, and Regional-to-Star is about six hours).  One thing I've been trying to nudge for is a bit more thruway connectivity, such as a midday bus that would at least knock some of those waits down to <2:00.  As it stands, practically speaking I often can't even take the train to Richmond for a meeting from here, something which makes me pull my hair out since it seems to be a "natural" city pair (what with service into RVM and all).

 

For good or ill I expect the second NFK train to either be a return to the 0500-ish departure NFK used to have or for NFK to "steal" the morning train out of NPN and for NPN to get one of the early-ish departures.  Basically you've got NB Regional departures from RVR at 0600, 0700, 0800, 1104, and 1900.  The 1900 train probably isn't moving (I wouldn't be deeply stunned if that happened but I'd happily take a $5 bet against it for now) which means you're shuffling the others around...and 0600 is a problem because that puts you coming out of NFK at about 0400 (which is a stretch even in a military town).  So now you're allocating 0700, 0800, and 1104 between NPN and NFK.

 

TBH your best bet would be the third train, which if I read some of the nuances in the various plans would probably be set up to connect with another train at RVR (for the simple fact that allocating anything to the 0600 train is a problem and you've now got six brides for seven brothers, so to speak).


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#9 west point

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Posted 29 November 2016 - 04:50 AM

The Long bridge problem rears its ugly head for any of these proposals. A possible solution would be setting up RVR as a combine / splitting station. Wonder how much track work / additional tracks would be needed to accomplish this ?

#10 neroden

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Posted 30 November 2016 - 08:10 PM

Virginia is hamstrung by a history of hamhanded political moves; if they'd just *bought* the RF&P outright when they sold it to CSX, their position would be so much better... oh well.


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#11 snvboy

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Posted 01 December 2016 - 08:36 AM

In a perfect world would the VRE extend down to Richmond, and have trains from the Tidewater stop going north and instead continue west & southwest?

 

It seems like the reason for the obscenely early departures from Tidewater is to continue the train on to NYC at a reasonable hour. Shorter, more frequent trains Tidewater <> Richmond then gives more opportunity to connect in Richmond to EVERYTHING going north & south. Extending that service to Tidewater <> Richmond <> Charlottesville <> Lynchburg <> Roanoke gives the same opportunities for better north/south connections in Richmond, as well as tying all the population centers of the state (that aren't NVOA) together. It would also create a potentially better connection in Charlottesville to the Crescent and Cardinal. I might even suggest then that the Cardinal might make more sense terminating in Richmond than NYC.

 

That's as pie-in-the-sky as any other "What if..." thread, so I'll stand by it. I have no clue if the tracks are there to do it, or the capacity, or the whatever, or the ramifications of having to be a state-supported service.

 

But the more of these threads that I read, the more I feel like the best way to grow passenger rail service is more frequency on shorter distances and more connections to make a network. 



#12 Thirdrail7

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:24 AM

I am guessing it is referring to southbound connections at RVR. Also, why is the NPN service in jeopardy?

 

 

 

I am guessing it is referring to southbound connections at RVR. Also, why is the NPN service in jeopardy?

 

I was wondering the same thing.  I thought I had seen plans for a new station, complete with a high level platform and all.  Did I dream them up?  :giggle:

 

 

Let's put it this way....from a system perspective, there is a lot of negotiating forthcoming over CSX's plans for route downgrades and PTC implementation plans.

 

In a perfect world would the VRE extend down to Richmond, and have trains from the Tidewater stop going north and instead continue west & southwest?

 

It seems like the reason for the obscenely early departures from Tidewater is to continue the train on to NYC at a reasonable hour. Shorter, more frequent trains Tidewater <> Richmond then gives more opportunity to connect in Richmond to EVERYTHING going north & south. Extending that service to Tidewater <> Richmond <> Charlottesville <> Lynchburg <> Roanoke gives the same opportunities for better north/south connections in Richmond, as well as tying all the population centers of the state (that aren't NVOA) together. It would also create a potentially better connection in Charlottesville to the Crescent and Cardinal. I might even suggest then that the Cardinal might make more sense terminating in Richmond than NYC.

 

That's as pie-in-the-sky as any other "What if..." thread, so I'll stand by it. I have no clue if the tracks are there to do it, or the capacity, or the whatever, or the ramifications of having to be a state-supported service.

 

But the more of these threads that I read, the more I feel like the best way to grow passenger rail service is more frequency on shorter distances and more connections to make a network. 

 

If you sever the one seat VA service rides to the corridor, you will damage the ridership and revenue on the line. If you look at the top revenue city pairs for the VA services, most of the top revenue comes from ridership that enters the NEC. This is not surprising since the longer the run, the greater the chance for more revenue. However, half of the top ten ridership city pairs are past WAS and onto the NEC.


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#13 jis

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 10:33 AM

 

In a perfect world would the VRE extend down to Richmond, and have trains from the Tidewater stop going north and instead continue west & southwest?
 
It seems like the reason for the obscenely early departures from Tidewater is to continue the train on to NYC at a reasonable hour. Shorter, more frequent trains Tidewater <> Richmond then gives more opportunity to connect in Richmond to EVERYTHING going north & south. Extending that service to Tidewater <> Richmond <> Charlottesville <> Lynchburg <> Roanoke gives the same opportunities for better north/south connections in Richmond, as well as tying all the population centers of the state (that aren't NVOA) together. It would also create a potentially better connection in Charlottesville to the Crescent and Cardinal. I might even suggest then that the Cardinal might make more sense terminating in Richmond than NYC.
 
That's as pie-in-the-sky as any other "What if..." thread, so I'll stand by it. I have no clue if the tracks are there to do it, or the capacity, or the whatever, or the ramifications of having to be a state-supported service.
 
But the more of these threads that I read, the more I feel like the best way to grow passenger rail service is more frequency on shorter distances and more connections to make a network.

 
If you sever the one seat VA service rides to the corridor, you will damage the ridership and revenue on the line. If you look at the top revenue city pairs for the VA services, most of the top revenue comes from ridership that enters the NEC. This is not surprising since the longer the run, the greater the chance for more revenue. However, half of the top ten ridership city pairs are past WAS and onto the NEC.

 

Exactly!

If Virginia wanted to setup an intra-state system and fund it all by itself, more power to it. But that would be a service in addition to the lucrative NEC extension service. Indeed it would be more in the bailiwick of some Virginia specific operation funded in its entirety by Virginia whether operated under contract by Amtrak or by an intra-state agency setup specifically for that purpose.



#14 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 12:14 PM

 

. . . connections out of RVR.

The schedule for the current NFK service with it's early AM weekday departure from NFK is aimed at providing contractors and military personnel in the Norfolk area the ability to make day trips to DC. So the train departs NFK very early, the return trip departs WAS circa 4 PM.  This is what VDRPT wants (and pays for). Southbound connections at RVR is not a consideration for VDRPT. 

 

 . . . VA is expending considerable funds to add capacity south of RVR to the CSX tracks to allow for 2 additional trains to NFK and to improve trip times for the NFK trains. The FY17 6 year out budget has the subsidy for the 2nd train added in state FY2019 which starts on July 1, 2018 . . . might provide better southbound connection options at RVR or PTB. Or not  . . .

Any notion of the time saving they hope to get out of Richmond-Petersburg? Every little bit helps when it helps the Palmetto, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor, and the Carolinian. Similarly, is there any update on the Stimulus work around Quantico? That triple-tracking project could take 10 minutes out of those Amtrak trains, plus the Amtrak Virginia trains to Richmond and the Tidewater.



#15 west point

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Posted 02 December 2016 - 08:53 PM

All these additional services fall back on one great big problem. " Long Bridge ". Until the additional tracks are built across the Potomac capacity is constrained. It may be some help if the approaches to both sides of Long Bridge were 3 or 4 track then maybe Long bridge could take some more trains.

Otherwise the only apparent solutions are split / combine trains at Alexandria and Richmond until Long bridge expanded..

#16 Thirdrail7

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 12:41 AM

Otherwise the only apparent solutions are split / combine trains at Alexandria and Richmond until Long bridge expanded..

 

Do you really think CSX, which is the company that claims there is a capacity constraint over Long Bridge, is going to allow Amtrak to stop a few miles south of the bridge with constraints....and start combining and splitting trains....on their main line tracks...in a train station without facilities?


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#17 neroden

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 09:40 AM

Let's put it this way....from a system perspective, there is a lot of negotiating forthcoming over CSX's plans for route downgrades and PTC implementation plans.

I reiterate my statement that Virgnia should have bought the RF&P when they last had the chance. Still should, really.
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#18 west point

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:12 PM

Do you really think CSX, which is the company that claims there is a capacity constraint over Long Bridge, is going to allow Amtrak to stop a few miles south of the bridge with constraints....and start combining and splitting trains....on their main line tracks...in a train station without facilities?


Absolutely not:: it will require some station tracks to be constructed both ALX and RVR. VRE already does some combining at various stations and splits at ALX. The easiest way southbound will be if the FRA will allow for direct combining of trains at WASH so leader just pull off first. northbound is the problem of combining requiring a brake check

Edited by west point, 03 December 2016 - 05:14 PM.


#19 Ryan

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 05:37 PM

VRE already does some combining at various stations and splits at ALX.


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#20 Thirdrail7

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Posted 03 December 2016 - 11:59 PM

 

Do you really think CSX, which is the company that claims there is a capacity constraint over Long Bridge, is going to allow Amtrak to stop a few miles south of the bridge with constraints....and start combining and splitting trains....on their main line tracks...in a train station without facilities?


Absolutely not:: it will require some station tracks to be constructed both ALX and RVR. VRE already does some combining at various stations and splits at ALX. The easiest way southbound will be if the FRA will allow for direct combining of trains at WASH so leader just pull off first. northbound is the problem of combining requiring a brake check

 

 

I'm not aware of any VRE trains combining at stations and splitting at ALX. Additionally, even if you split a train, a new brake test on both trains is required. You would also have to come up with more diesels for this operation.

 

I don't see it as a reasonable alternative.


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