How much does it really add costs, though, to just let the "extra" cars tag along all the way to New Orleans? Anniston as a drop point is thinking outside the box, and Amtrak could do with more of that, but of course the idea is the additional capacity is only needed north of Atlanta.
The timetable distance between ATL <> NOL is listed as ~ 519 miles. PRIIA listed operating costs of a car is $4.00 + a mile.
A present day Crescent is usually 9 cars = 1 bag, 4 coaches, Diner, lounge 2 sleepers. If the ATL <> NOL segment was changed to 1 bag, 2 coaches, diner or lounge, 1 sleeper that would be 3 less cars every day.
3 cars x 519 x 2 directions x $4.00 = 9 = $12,456 saved per day
Now if Crescent goes NYP or WASH <> ATL 5 coaches and 4 sleepers = 12 cars then cutting them off at ATL saves another $12,456.
so regular consist saves in a 30 day month $$373,680. Proposed consist save double that in a month = $747.360. Those figures are only car operating costs. Operating savings per year ~ $ 4.2 - $8,4 M per year.
Additional costs in no special order. Since the cars are laying over and will be originating there may be 2 additional car knockers required for the FRA required daily originating inspections. ATL already has an unknown number for the 1000 mile brake check. Probably 2 switcher crew men. Then there probably would be some additional NS track charges ( wild guess not more than $5.000 ? ) Hotel power connections $1,000 month ? One time costs for additional spare parts, storage. & another vehicle.
Costs for 2 additional siding switches, tracks HEP connections, additional NS signaling, etc $1.4 - $2.0 M.
The problem with Anniston would be the additional car knockers and loss of savings of 200 miles a day. BHM looses 320 miles of savings.
As pointed out ATL <> NOL ridership is much lower part of Crescent's load. The Crescent has always been capacity limited ATL <> WASH even during SOU RR's operation. ATL <> NOL much less demand although BHM is adding more riders to train now both thru ATL and to NOL. Amtrak PRIIA stated more cars would be added ATL >? NOL whenever demand calls for extra seats. Good use for Horizons if they are ever removed from 1st line service.h