I previously started a thread of the largest metros without Amtrak service (http://discuss.amtra...-to-serve-them/).
So I'd like to discuss the largest metros that have service but not much and ways to serve them better.
Since Las Vegas and Columbus who have no Amtrak service at all have populations of about 2 million, I will only list those with populations above 2 million.
The following metropolitan areas are served by only one train (Thruway buses don't count and Sunset Limited/Texas Eagle where combined counts as one train):
Houston (Sunset Limited, 3x/week)
Phoenix (If you consider Maricopa part of the Phoenix metro area, then Sunset Limited, 3x/week. Phoenix was not listed in Wikipedia's list of metros without Amtrak so they assume it is)
Minneapolis (Empire Builder)
Tampa/St. Petersburg (Silver Star)
Denver (California Zephyr)
Cincinnati (Cardinal, 3x/week, graveyard shift)
Austin (Texas Eagle)
Of these markets, ridership totals (https://www.narprail...cities_2015.pdf):
Minneapolis/St. Paul: 90,650
Phoenix (Maricopa): 12,066
I believe the Atlanta station/situation has been beaten to death but imagine how much more ridership/revenue Amtrak can get from 1-2 more trains serving Atlanta.
Assuming only LD trains,
Denver could be served by restarting the Desert Wind, the Pioneer, or just a stand alone Chicago-Denver train (ideally passing through new markets the CZ doesn't pass through). I also remember someone mentioning Denver to Dallas (Caprock?)
Tampa could be served by another Florida LD train, either from the NEC or from Chicago and/or New Orleans
Minneapolis/St. Paul? I guess North Coast Hiawatha or a second Empire Builder but to me that would be a waste of money. Maybe extend the CONO to MSP (and you pick up Milwaukee as well)?
Austin? Probably a 2nd Texas Eagle or if the proposed Crescent Star goes all the way to San Antonio
Other than changing the non daily trains to daily,
Houston? Restart the Houston section of the Texas Eagle (http://www.timetable...01028&item=0054) or the Lone Star
Cincinnati? An NYP-CIN train through upstate NY? If CIN can't service a LD train, I did propose New York-Dallas in the other thread (http://discuss.amtra...-them/?p=691909) which would also take care of three large markets without Amtrak trains (Columbus, Louisville, and Nashville)
Phoenix? Having the SL actually serve Phoenix would be a start. For a second route, perhaps this route between LAX and Dallas/Ft. Worth ("Ft. Worth to El Paso via Abilene and Midland-Odessa")? https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/back-to-the-future-of-amtraks-long-distance-trains/
You can see that corridor service would dramatically help several of these metro areas without the expense of LD trains but Congress refuses to do so (not that they would fund any of the LD trains suggested either). As for the states, we know Ohio, Texas, and Florida governments are hard to get rail funding from. The best hope for a state supported train looks to be MSP. Denver is stuck in no man's land as they are nowhere close to any metros with 2 million or more people (SLC is 570 miles away and they have barely over 1 million). It is amazing that Denver has as high a ridership as they do without a nearby metropolitan area as is the case for Tampa (Orlando and Miami nearby).
Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 05 January 2017 - 08:20 AM.