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Could Only Some of the LD Trains Be Cut Instead of All of Them?


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#41 jebr

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:09 PM

It already does.

Eh? Including transfer time, it does take a bit longer to get from Philadelphia to Chicago on Amtrak as it does to get from Rugby to Chicago on Amtrak.

 

Now if you're going to pretty much any other non-Empire Builder (or Coast Starlight) destination on Amtrak, Philadelphia is faster. Especially since you can do a same-day transfer to all the western long distance trains that start in Chicago (along with the eastern ones) from Philadelphia. But the fact that a Philadelphia resident can get to Denver faster on Amtrak than a person from Rugby can, despite the Rugby person being in much closer physical proximity to Denver than Philadelphia is, doesn't make the "woe is Philadelphia, with its plethora of trains but the city of Chicago being slightly inconvenient to get to" argument as well. It also ignores the fact that someone without a car in Philadelphia can still take a bus or fly to Chicago with great ease, where someone from Rugby who doesn't have a car has to rely on the once-a-day train (or a once-a-week bus, on Thursdays, to Minot) to get anywhere outside of Rugby.

 

But yes, let's rip out a major lifeline for many Americans (including quite a few Senate votes) to save a bit of money and maybe make a connection to Chicago slightly more convenient for Pennsylvanians.



#42 Ryan

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 08:39 PM

3.5 trains/day as opposed to one? I'd say so.

I get that transfers are the work of the devil, but claiming that Rugby has better transportation than Philly is utterly ridiculous.
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#43 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:09 PM

3.5 trains/day as opposed to one? I'd say so.

I get that transfers are the work of the devil, but claiming that Rugby has better transportation than Philly is utterly ridiculous.


Philadelphia clearly has far better overall transit and Amtrak service than Rugby; however, one exception is access to Chicago via Amtrak. Although Philadelphia has more options as you say, they all run on roughly the same schedule and some are much faster than others. Most people other than railfans don't care if their train goes through West Virginia or New York. Having said that, some oddities like this can not be avoided. For example, Las Vegas, NM has better access to LA than Denver. I fully support restoration of the BL, but there will always be a potential improvement that could happen.
Trains travelled: Capitol Limited WAS-CHI, Carolinian CLT-RGH, Coast Starlight SJC-LAX, Crescent BAL-ATL, Empire Builder MSP-CHI, Empire Service NYP-NFL, Lake Shore Limited BOS-ALB, Maple Leaf ALB-NYP, Northeast Regional FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, Pacific Surfliner LAX-ANA, Piedmont RGH-DNC, Silver Meteor ORL-NYP, Silver Star FTL-WAS, 2016 Autumn Express NYP-HAR-NYP

Upcoming New Routes: Pennsylvanian NYP-PGH (July), Cardinal CHI-WAS (July), Lake Shore Limited NYP-CHI (December), California Zephyr CHI-RIC (December), Coast Starlight SJC-SEA (December), Empire Builder SEA-MSP (January).

Non Amtrak: Atlanta Streetcar, Caltrain, CTA, DC Streetcar, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, LIRR, MARC, MARTA, MBTA Subway, Metra, Metrolink, METRO Transit Light Rail, Miami Metrorail, Muni Metro, NJT Commuter Rail, North Star, NYC Subway, PATH, River Line (NJT), SEPTA Regional Rail, SEPTA Subway, South Shore Line, Sunrail, TECO Streetcar, Tri-Rail, Washington Metro

#44 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 30 March 2017 - 10:45 PM

 

Philadelphia clearly has far better overall transit and Amtrak service than Rugby; however, one exception is access to Chicago via Amtrak. 

 

 

Yes. Remember Chicago is the main east-west gateway and unless they add a second one (NOL?) it will be more important than most other destinations.

 

PHL-CHI: 834 miles via Pennsylvanian/Capitol Limited, 12:42pm ET-8:45am CT (roughly 19 hours including transfer time)

Rugby-CHI: 879 miles via Empire Builder, 10:43pm-3:55pm CT (roughly 17 hours)

 

So two hours longer (and a transfer) to go 45 fewer miles.

 

I hope Rugby enjoys all the attention I'm giving them the same way I did for White Sulphur Springs and Thurmond:) I saw the name and thought what a cool name for a town.

 

 


Most people other than railfans don't care if their train goes through West Virginia or New York. 

 

 

I think they would care if one train took 7 hours less than another. Why not route passengers from CHI to NYP via NOL (CONO/Crescent) and see if it makes a difference to them (even if the overnight stay in NOL was removed)?


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 30 March 2017 - 10:49 PM.

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)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#45 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 31 March 2017 - 04:38 AM

 Philadelphia clearly has far better overall transit and Amtrak service than Rugby; however, one exception is access to Chicago via Amtrak. 
 

 
Yes. Remember Chicago is the main east-west gateway and unless they add a second one (NOL?) it will be more important than most other destinations.
 
PHL-CHI: 834 miles via Pennsylvanian/Capitol Limited, 12:42pm ET-8:45am CT (roughly 19 hours including transfer time)
Rugby-CHI: 879 miles via Empire Builder, 10:43pm-3:55pm CT (roughly 17 hours)
 
So two hours longer (and a transfer) to go 45 fewer miles.
 
I hope Rugby enjoys all the attention I'm giving them the same way I did for White Sulphur Springs and Thurmond:) I saw the name and thought what a cool name for a town.
 

 
Most people other than railfans don't care if their train goes through West Virginia or New York. 
 

 
I think they would care if one train took 7 hours less than another. Why not route passengers from CHI to NYP via NOL (CONO/Crescent) and see if it makes a difference to them (even if the overnight stay in NOL was removed)?
People would certainly care if a train takes 7 hours longer, which is exactly my point; without some aversion to transfers hardly anybody would use the Cardinal between these cities. (I do not believe the Cardinal should be discontinued, but it is almost useless for this specific city pair) If the schedules were different then that may not be true, but it leaves PHL earlier and arrives CHI later than the other choices. All three options from PHL arrive CHI within a short period of the morning, so most people are going to take one of the CL options because they are faster. However, very few non-railfans would take the Cardinal or LSL. I understand that connections in Chicago are important, but I think that if a BL were to be restored it should arrive Chicago at night and depart in the morning to add a new frequency to the NEC to CHI market as well as provide service to Ohio during the day.
Trains travelled: Capitol Limited WAS-CHI, Carolinian CLT-RGH, Coast Starlight SJC-LAX, Crescent BAL-ATL, Empire Builder MSP-CHI, Empire Service NYP-NFL, Lake Shore Limited BOS-ALB, Maple Leaf ALB-NYP, Northeast Regional FBG-RVR+WAS-BOS, Pacific Surfliner LAX-ANA, Piedmont RGH-DNC, Silver Meteor ORL-NYP, Silver Star FTL-WAS, 2016 Autumn Express NYP-HAR-NYP

Upcoming New Routes: Pennsylvanian NYP-PGH (July), Cardinal CHI-WAS (July), Lake Shore Limited NYP-CHI (December), California Zephyr CHI-RIC (December), Coast Starlight SJC-SEA (December), Empire Builder SEA-MSP (January).

Non Amtrak: Atlanta Streetcar, Caltrain, CTA, DC Streetcar, Hudson-Bergen Light Rail, LIRR, MARC, MARTA, MBTA Subway, Metra, Metrolink, METRO Transit Light Rail, Miami Metrorail, Muni Metro, NJT Commuter Rail, North Star, NYC Subway, PATH, River Line (NJT), SEPTA Regional Rail, SEPTA Subway, South Shore Line, Sunrail, TECO Streetcar, Tri-Rail, Washington Metro

#46 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:12 PM

One suggestion: Cut 100% of all Long Distance trains.

 

Compromise: Cut 50% of the Long Distance trains.

 

A better suggestion: Add 14 new LD trains, for a 100% increase.

 

A better compromise: Add 7 new LD trains, for a 50% increase.

 

 

Let me put this in money terms. Amtrak's subsidy the last few years is around $1.4 million. So here's the conversation:

 

Amtrak: We want $1.4 billion.

Congress: We don't want to give you any money.

Amtrak: OK, let's compromise. How about $2 billion?

 

If you can get $2 billion out of Amtrak, more power to you. If you can get around the same Amtrak's been getting recently, I think most of us would be happy. If you can't get $1.4 billion, try to get $1 billion or $1.2 billion rather than say "$1.4 billion or nothing" or "$2 billion or nothing". 

 

So assume Amtrak won't be able to afford to run its entire LD system. My proposal of a more affordable LD system:

 

Reduce the LD mileage requirement to 700 miles. 

 

Reclassify the Carolinian (704 miles) as an LD train. This frees up money for NC DOT to spend to increase frequency of the Piedmont service without significantly increasing Amtrak's costs (95% of the Carolinian's fully allocated operating costs are covered by ticket revenue: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18616). 

 

Introduce a new "day" train between Cincinnati and Minneapolis (737 miles, 319 CIN-CHI, 418 CHI-MSP). Or if Congress is firm on the 750 miles, extend to St. Cloud to put it over the top.

 

Extend the CONO to SAS via HOS (would we change the name?) or the TE to NOL via HOS. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the "longer" route between CHI-NOL or CHI-SAS but NOL-SAS would be covered and you would add the possibility of a one seat ride between CHI-HOS.

 

Cancel the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, and Empire Builder with portions covered by the CONO extension and the new CIN-MSP train. If the portions between CIN-IND and NOL-SAS can get daily service then Amtrak would have no non daily service.

 

If the entire LD system were shut down, 23 states would lose all of its Amtrak service including Texas, Florida, and Ohio. With my plan, only 4 states would lose all Amtrak service with the 37 most populous states (https://en.wikipedia...s_by_population) maintaining at least some Amtrak service. Of the 13 least populous states in the country, four (Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota) don't have any service right now, three (Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire) have only state supported service, and two (Rhode Island and Delaware) have federally funded NEC service but no LD trains. 

 

Among the 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (https://en.wikipedia...atistical_Areas), only one MSA out of the 53 MSA's with 1 million or more people (Tucson) would lose Amtrak service and only three MSA's out of the 107 with 500,000 or more people would lose Amtrak service (Tucson, El Paso, and Spokane). 

 

Only one of the 12 most populous states (Texas) would lose any service at all. Cross country service between the NEC and California (both LAX and the Bay Area) via CHI would remain intact and North-South service would remain between NEC-Florida, LAX-SEA/PDX, CHI-NOL/Texas. The most significant connection lost to me would be between Texas and California but the SL has really low ridership (NOL-SAS would remain intact).

 

Train miles saved:

828 miles of the Cardinal between NYP-CIN (340 miles, NYP-CVS, would still have other service, including the Crescent)

1422 miles of the Sunset Limited SAS-LAX

1787 miles of the Empire Builder MSP-SEA

376 miles of the Empire Builder SPK-PDX

 

Total savings of 4413 train miles. 

 

12 stations on the Cardinal route can be closed.

13 stations on the Sunset Limited route can be closed.

33 stations on the Empire Builder route can be closed.

 

Total of 58 stations that Amtrak can close. Amtrak boasts more than 500 destinations. This would cut about 10% of the destinations but those 10% most likely amount to significantly less than 10% of the US population (the entire states of West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota combined contain less than 2% of the total US population and Amtrak barely touches Idaho now). I would say only 5-7% of the country that currently has Amtrak would lose service.

 

My hope is that this will cut around 10% of the Amtrak subsidy (over $100 million savings) while losing a lot less than 10% of Amtrak's ridership/revenue. Amtrak currently brags it covers 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue. Hopefully these changes will bring that percentage to 96-97%. And there is nothing stopping states from picking up the tab for the missing service. SEA-SPK can be added to the Cascades service that Washington already pays for. It is not unprecedented for states to do so, after the National Limited was canceled Pennsylvania started the Pennsylvanian service and Missouri added KCY-STL service.

 

In terms of schedule...

 

I'd like to move CIN outside the graveyard shift. The westbound train would leave CIN at 5:41am, arrive in CHI 2:05pm, leave CHI at 3:15pm, and arrive in MSP at 11:03pm. The eastbound train would leave MSP 6:00am, arrive in CHI at 1:55pm, leave CHI at 2:45pm, and arrive in CIN at 12:17am. 

 

I'd move the NOL-SAS portions closer to the CONO. Westbound leave NOL at 9:00pm, arriving in SAS at 12:05pm. Eastbound leave SAS at 6:25pm, arriving in NOL at 9:40am. This would allow a one seat ride between CHI and HOS with around a 5.5 hr gap in NOL going south and a 4.5 hr gap in NOL going north (the times in HOS would be 6:18/6:55am west and 11:10pm/12:10am east so you can't really cut the dwell times in NOL without screwing HOS). You would have a longer gap in SAS between the CONO extension and the TE but it currently requires an overnight stay now anyway. Ideally you'd move the NOL-SAS closer to the TE so you can close the service facilities in SAS but with HOS-SAS only being around 5 hours the times would be bad on one or both ends.

 

Even if the CIN-CHI, CHI-MSP, and NOL-SAS schedules couldn't be changed, at least service remains along those routes. 

 

I'd be reluctant to cut any more trains than I have proposed. Will the cuts get a few more Congress critters to support Amtrak at a cheaper price than the current price?


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)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#47 CCC1007

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:24 PM

One suggestion: Cut 100% of all Long Distance trains.
 
Compromise: Cut 50% of the Long Distance trains.
 
A better suggestion: Add 14 new LD trains, for a 100% increase.
 
A better compromise: Add 7 new LD trains, for a 50% increase.
 

 
Let me put this in money terms. Amtrak's subsidy the last few years is around $1.4 million. So here's the conversation:
 
Amtrak: We want $1.4 billion.
Congress: We don't want to give you any money.
Amtrak: OK, let's compromise. How about $2 billion?
 
If you can get $2 billion out of Amtrak, more power to you. If you can get around the same Amtrak's been getting recently, I think most of us would be happy. If you can't get $1.4 billion, try to get $1 billion or $1.2 billion rather than say "$1.4 billion or nothing" or "$2 billion or nothing". 
 
So assume Amtrak won't be able to afford to run its entire LD system. My proposal of a more affordable LD system:
 
Reduce the LD mileage requirement to 700 miles. 
 
Reclassify the Carolinian (704 miles) as an LD train. This frees up money for NC DOT to spend to increase frequency of the Piedmont service without significantly increasing Amtrak's costs (95% of the Carolinian's fully allocated operating costs are covered by ticket revenue: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18616). 
 
Introduce a new "day" train between Cincinnati and Minneapolis (737 miles, 319 CIN-CHI, 418 CHI-MSP). Or if Congress is firm on the 750 miles, extend to St. Cloud to put it over the top.
 
Extend the CONO to SAS via HOS (would we change the name?) or the TE to NOL via HOS. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the "longer" route between CHI-NOL or CHI-SAS but NOL-SAS would be covered and you would add the possibility of a one seat ride between CHI-HOS.
 
Cancel the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, and Empire Builder with portions covered by the CONO extension and the new CIN-MSP train. If the portions between CIN-IND and NOL-SAS can get daily service then Amtrak would have no non daily service.
 
If the entire LD system were shut down, 23 states would lose all of its Amtrak service including Texas, Florida, and Ohio. With my plan, only 4 states would lose all Amtrak service with the 37 most populous states (https://en.wikipedia...s_by_population) maintaining at least some Amtrak service. Of the 13 least populous states in the country, four (Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota) don't have any service right now, three (Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire) have only state supported service, and two (Rhode Island and Delaware) have federally funded NEC service but no LD trains. 
 
Among the 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (https://en.wikipedia...atistical_Areas), only one MSA out of the 53 MSA's with 1 million or more people (Tucson) would lose Amtrak service and only three MSA's out of the 107 with 500,000 or more people would lose Amtrak service (Tucson, El Paso, and Spokane). 
 
Only one of the 12 most populous states (Texas) would lose any service at all. Cross country service between the NEC and California (both LAX and the Bay Area) via CHI would remain intact and North-South service would remain between NEC-Florida, LAX-SEA/PDX, CHI-NOL/Texas. The most significant connection lost to me would be between Texas and California but the SL has really low ridership (NOL-SAS would remain intact).
 
Train miles saved:
828 miles of the Cardinal between NYP-CIN (340 miles, NYP-CVS, would still have other service, including the Crescent)
1422 miles of the Sunset Limited SAS-LAX
1787 miles of the Empire Builder MSP-SEA
376 miles of the Empire Builder SPK-PDX
 
Total savings of 4413 train miles. 
 
12 stations on the Cardinal route can be closed.
13 stations on the Sunset Limited route can be closed.
33 stations on the Empire Builder route can be closed.
 
Total of 58 stations that Amtrak can close. Amtrak boasts more than 500 destinations. This would cut about 10% of the destinations but those 10% most likely amount to significantly less than 10% of the US population (the entire states of West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota combined contain less than 2% of the total US population and Amtrak barely touches Idaho now). I would say only 5-7% of the country that currently has Amtrak would lose service.
 
My hope is that this will cut around 10% of the Amtrak subsidy (over $100 million savings) while losing a lot less than 10% of Amtrak's ridership/revenue. Amtrak currently brags it covers 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue. Hopefully these changes will bring that percentage to 96-97%. And there is nothing stopping states from picking up the tab for the missing service. SEA-SPK can be added to the Cascades service that Washington already pays for. It is not unprecedented for states to do so, after the National Limited was canceled Pennsylvania started the Pennsylvanian service and Missouri added KCY-STL service.
 
In terms of schedule...
 
I'd like to move CIN outside the graveyard shift. The westbound train would leave CIN at 5:41am, arrive in CHI 2:05pm, leave CHI at 3:15pm, and arrive in MSP at 11:03pm. The eastbound train would leave MSP 6:00am, arrive in CHI at 1:55pm, leave CHI at 2:45pm, and arrive in CIN at 12:17am. 
 
I'd move the NOL-SAS portions closer to the CONO. Westbound leave NOL at 9:00pm, arriving in SAS at 12:05pm. Eastbound leave SAS at 6:25pm, arriving in NOL at 9:40am. This would allow a one seat ride between CHI and HOS with around a 5.5 hr gap in NOL going south and a 4.5 hr gap in NOL going north (the times in HOS would be 6:18/6:55am west and 11:10pm/12:10am east so you can't really cut the dwell times in NOL without screwing HOS). You would have a longer gap in SAS between the CONO extension and the TE but it currently requires an overnight stay now anyway. Ideally you'd move the NOL-SAS closer to the TE so you can close the service facilities in SAS but with HOS-SAS only being around 5 hours the times would be bad on one or both ends.
 
Even if the CIN-CHI, CHI-MSP, and NOL-SAS schedules couldn't be changed, at least service remains along those routes. 
 
I'd be reluctant to cut any more trains than I have proposed. Will the cuts get a few more Congress critters to support Amtrak at a cheaper price than the current price?
Maybe you should consult with the people that depend on the services you propose cutting before you actually do, as Montana, North Dakota, and Washington will all fight to retain the empire builder.

#48 A Voice

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 08:59 PM

 

One suggestion: Cut 100% of all Long Distance trains.

 

Compromise: Cut 50% of the Long Distance trains.

 

A better suggestion: Add 14 new LD trains, for a 100% increase.

 

A better compromise: Add 7 new LD trains, for a 50% increase.

 

 

Let me put this in money terms. Amtrak's subsidy the last few years is around $1.4 million. So here's the conversation:

 

Amtrak: We want $1.4 billion.

Congress: We don't want to give you any money.

Amtrak: OK, let's compromise. How about $2 billion?

 

If you can get $2 billion out of Amtrak, more power to you. If you can get around the same Amtrak's been getting recently, I think most of us would be happy. If you can't get $1.4 billion, try to get $1 billion or $1.2 billion rather than say "$1.4 billion or nothing" or "$2 billion or nothing". 

 

So assume Amtrak won't be able to afford to run its entire LD system. My proposal of a more affordable LD system:

 

Reduce the LD mileage requirement to 700 miles. 

 

Reclassify the Carolinian (704 miles) as an LD train. This frees up money for NC DOT to spend to increase frequency of the Piedmont service without significantly increasing Amtrak's costs (95% of the Carolinian's fully allocated operating costs are covered by ticket revenue: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18616). 

 

Introduce a new "day" train between Cincinnati and Minneapolis (737 miles, 319 CIN-CHI, 418 CHI-MSP). Or if Congress is firm on the 750 miles, extend to St. Cloud to put it over the top.

 

Extend the CONO to SAS via HOS (would we change the name?) or the TE to NOL via HOS. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the "longer" route between CHI-NOL or CHI-SAS but NOL-SAS would be covered and you would add the possibility of a one seat ride between CHI-HOS.

 

Cancel the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, and Empire Builder with portions covered by the CONO extension and the new CIN-MSP train. If the portions between CIN-IND and NOL-SAS can get daily service then Amtrak would have no non daily service.

 

If the entire LD system were shut down, 23 states would lose all of its Amtrak service including Texas, Florida, and Ohio. With my plan, only 4 states would lose all Amtrak service with the 37 most populous states (https://en.wikipedia...s_by_population) maintaining at least some Amtrak service. Of the 13 least populous states in the country, four (Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota) don't have any service right now, three (Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire) have only state supported service, and two (Rhode Island and Delaware) have federally funded NEC service but no LD trains. 

 

Among the 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (https://en.wikipedia...atistical_Areas), only one MSA out of the 53 MSA's with 1 million or more people (Tucson) would lose Amtrak service and only three MSA's out of the 107 with 500,000 or more people would lose Amtrak service (Tucson, El Paso, and Spokane). 

 

Only one of the 12 most populous states (Texas) would lose any service at all. Cross country service between the NEC and California (both LAX and the Bay Area) via CHI would remain intact and North-South service would remain between NEC-Florida, LAX-SEA/PDX, CHI-NOL/Texas. The most significant connection lost to me would be between Texas and California but the SL has really low ridership (NOL-SAS would remain intact).

 

Train miles saved:

828 miles of the Cardinal between NYP-CIN (340 miles, NYP-CVS, would still have other service, including the Crescent)

1422 miles of the Sunset Limited SAS-LAX

1787 miles of the Empire Builder MSP-SEA

376 miles of the Empire Builder SPK-PDX

 

Total savings of 4413 train miles. 

 

12 stations on the Cardinal route can be closed.

13 stations on the Sunset Limited route can be closed.

33 stations on the Empire Builder route can be closed.

 

Total of 58 stations that Amtrak can close. Amtrak boasts more than 500 destinations. This would cut about 10% of the destinations but those 10% most likely amount to significantly less than 10% of the US population (the entire states of West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota combined contain less than 2% of the total US population and Amtrak barely touches Idaho now). I would say only 5-7% of the country that currently has Amtrak would lose service.

 

My hope is that this will cut around 10% of the Amtrak subsidy (over $100 million savings) while losing a lot less than 10% of Amtrak's ridership/revenue. Amtrak currently brags it covers 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue. Hopefully these changes will bring that percentage to 96-97%. And there is nothing stopping states from picking up the tab for the missing service. SEA-SPK can be added to the Cascades service that Washington already pays for. It is not unprecedented for states to do so, after the National Limited was canceled Pennsylvania started the Pennsylvanian service and Missouri added KCY-STL service.

 

In terms of schedule...

 

I'd like to move CIN outside the graveyard shift. The westbound train would leave CIN at 5:41am, arrive in CHI 2:05pm, leave CHI at 3:15pm, and arrive in MSP at 11:03pm. The eastbound train would leave MSP 6:00am, arrive in CHI at 1:55pm, leave CHI at 2:45pm, and arrive in CIN at 12:17am. 

 

I'd move the NOL-SAS portions closer to the CONO. Westbound leave NOL at 9:00pm, arriving in SAS at 12:05pm. Eastbound leave SAS at 6:25pm, arriving in NOL at 9:40am. This would allow a one seat ride between CHI and HOS with around a 5.5 hr gap in NOL going south and a 4.5 hr gap in NOL going north (the times in HOS would be 6:18/6:55am west and 11:10pm/12:10am east so you can't really cut the dwell times in NOL without screwing HOS). You would have a longer gap in SAS between the CONO extension and the TE but it currently requires an overnight stay now anyway. Ideally you'd move the NOL-SAS closer to the TE so you can close the service facilities in SAS but with HOS-SAS only being around 5 hours the times would be bad on one or both ends.

 

Even if the CIN-CHI, CHI-MSP, and NOL-SAS schedules couldn't be changed, at least service remains along those routes. 

 

I'd be reluctant to cut any more trains than I have proposed. Will the cuts get a few more Congress critters to support Amtrak at a cheaper price than the current price?

 

 

That's a fair amount of research, thought and effort put into a plan to reduce and eliminate Amtrak train service.  Now, imagine if that same effort were expended instead advocating for expanded and improved Amtrak intercity (long-distance) train service.....  



#49 Seaboard92

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Posted 13 April 2017 - 09:04 PM

And West Virginia has just set up an account to potentially fund track improvements for a daily Cardinal. So I second that you need to talk to these people. And most of them when you say I'm from philly and want a fast one seat train to Chicago. Would look at you after you say cut their train for yours like why does Philly need a faster train when it has 21 flights a day between the two. And it's cheeper to fly. And for those who want the train they can go to Washington or New York easily to get there. Or connect in Pittsburgh. While these people don't have these options. The cardinal communities have the choice of drive hundreds of miles to an airport, their destination, or to a daily Amtrak. Which is what they would do without the Cardinal, or the Empire Builder. With those services they don't have to leave their home towns, or drive as far they would other wise.

You can't cut service to places with no other service alternative. Amtrak is more then a city to city carrier. It is town to town. Town to city. It isn't just the big cities that matter.

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Amtrak Routes I've riden: Silver Star(NYP-ORL), Silver Meteor(KIS-NYP),Carolinian(CLT-NWK), Palmetto (FLO-NYP), Acela(WAS-NYP), NE Regional(WBG-RVR), Pacific Surfliner(SAN-OSD), Piedmont(CLT-SAL), Crescent(NYP-CLT), Cardinal (WAS-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Cascade (PDX-SEA)

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#50 Bob Dylan

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:41 AM

To quote the late President Reagan: "There you go again!"


And FYI, Delaware has Four LD Trains,The two Silvers to Florida,the Crescent and your whipping boy, the Cardinal in addition to the NEC Trains.

Good thing nobody rides these trains so they won't be missed!🤔

Opps, forgot the Crescent and the Palmetto,thanks jis.

Edited by Bob Dylan, 14 April 2017 - 09:49 AM.

 
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Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take,No matter where its going!.." -Edna St. Vincent Millay

#51 jis

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 09:46 AM

To quote the late President Reagan: "There you go again!"


And FYI, Delaware has Three LD Trains,The two Silvers to Florida and your whipping boy, the Cardinal in addition to the NEC Trains.

Good thing nobody rides these trains so they won't be missed!

Four. The two Silvers, Crescent and Cardinal. And technically the Palmetto is also an LD train.

#52 Carolina Special

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Posted 14 April 2017 - 08:46 PM

The comment that Amtrak brags about covering 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue is not accurate. Amtrak instead talks about ticket sales and other revenues as the numerator in the equation.

As near as I can tell, the equation is total revenue divided by total expense less pro forma non cash adjustments (primarily depreciation).

Ticket revenue makes up about 2/3 of total revenue. The remaining 1/3 of revenue is made up of food and beverage revenue, state supported train revenue, commuter revenue, reimbursable engineering and capital improvement activities, other track related transport revenue, commercial development, amortization of state capital payments, and freight access fees.
How relevant some of these items are to supporting passenger train operations is debatable, but that's another topic.

Anyway, Amtrak is far, far away from covering operating costs with pure ticket revenue.

#53 neroden

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Posted 16 April 2017 - 02:34 PM

I don't listen to proposals to cut train services to "save money", 'cause they're stupid.  I already explained why.  Save at most $60 million?  Why bother?

 

In fact, what Amtrak will do if budgets are reduced temporarily is to defer capital expenditures.  It's the only thing which makes any sense.


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#54 dlagrua

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 12:06 PM

When I read all of these "cost cutting" suggestions it makes me quite curious.  What do we do with all the people in the USA in the small towns, and in the countryside that live hundreds of miles away from the nearest regional airport?   Do we consider the elderly and the people with physical and/or mental handicaps that prevent them from flying?  What about the Amtrak employees; do we just lay them all off and say good luck, go flip burgers? 

The point that I am making is that passenger rail service is essential to not only the economy but vital for the well being of our society. Everything should not always be all about the money but with making political decisions that benefit the American people.

I always knew that the budget to cut LD passenger rail service was going nowhere. If that budget had passed it would be political suicide for those that voted for it. It is important that we expand passenger rail service not cut it . Passenger rail serves the American people well and I am happy to see the $1.5 Billion appropriation. 



#55 jis

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 01:21 PM

Don't go to the bank with that thought yet. The battle for 2018 will be way bloodier than this mini-tussle for the balance of 2017. You ain't seen nothin' yet. ;)

 

Also realize that more than half of that $1.5 billion has already been disbursed, since it is just a tad bit more than what was in the previously appropriated for 2017 amount. All that remains to be disbursed is roughly half of that amount or a little less than that.



#56 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 02:27 PM

I've discussed my feelings on small town trains already.

 

 

Would look at you after you say cut their train for yours like why does Philly need a faster train when it has 21 flights a day between the two. And it's cheeper to fly. 

 

I reject the premise of "because they have an airport they don't need a train". NOT everyone flies. I haven't been on an airplane in over 20 years and I've traveled to the west coast and back three times since then. So those who can't fly have to just sit at home or take a bus? Can you imagine riding a bus three days? 


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)!
 

https://www.facebook...roadwayLimited/

 


#57 railiner

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 02:55 PM

Yes. :)
metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#58 Chessie

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 03:05 PM

I've discussed my feelings on small town trains already.
 
 

Would look at you after you say cut their train for yours like why does Philly need a faster train when it has 21 flights a day between the two. And it's cheeper to fly. 

 
I reject the premise of "because they have an airport they don't need a train". NOT everyone flies. I haven't been on an airplane in over 20 years and I've traveled to the west coast and back three times since then. So those who can't fly have to just sit at home or take a bus? Can you imagine riding a bus three days? 

Why not take NEC?

Anyway I would like to keep all three trains and have Sunset limited east resorted before thinking about adding anything. :giggle:

Edited by Chessie, 11 May 2017 - 11:32 AM.


#59 CCC1007

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 03:09 PM

I've discussed my feelings on small town trains already.
 
 

Would look at you after you say cut their train for yours like why does Philly need a faster train when it has 21 flights a day between the two. And it's cheeper to fly. 

 
I reject the premise of "because they have an airport they don't need a train". NOT everyone flies. I haven't been on an airplane in over 20 years and I've traveled to the west coast and back three times since then. So those who can't fly have to just sit at home or take a bus? Can you imagine riding a bus three days? 
I'd love to have you visit Malta, MT for a week, walk around and visit with the people of the town...

I would guess that your opinion about small town living would change quite a bit.

#60 norfolkwesternhenry

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Posted 05 May 2017 - 11:00 PM

 

 

One suggestion: Cut 100% of all Long Distance trains.
 
Compromise: Cut 50% of the Long Distance trains.
 
A better suggestion: Add 14 new LD trains, for a 100% increase.
 
A better compromise: Add 7 new LD trains, for a 50% increase.
 

 
Let me put this in money terms. Amtrak's subsidy the last few years is around $1.4 million. So here's the conversation:
 
Amtrak: We want $1.4 billion.
Congress: We don't want to give you any money.
Amtrak: OK, let's compromise. How about $2 billion?
 
If you can get $2 billion out of Amtrak, more power to you. If you can get around the same Amtrak's been getting recently, I think most of us would be happy. If you can't get $1.4 billion, try to get $1 billion or $1.2 billion rather than say "$1.4 billion or nothing" or "$2 billion or nothing". 
 
So assume Amtrak won't be able to afford to run its entire LD system. My proposal of a more affordable LD system:
 
Reduce the LD mileage requirement to 700 miles. 
 
Reclassify the Carolinian (704 miles) as an LD train. This frees up money for NC DOT to spend to increase frequency of the Piedmont service without significantly increasing Amtrak's costs (95% of the Carolinian's fully allocated operating costs are covered by ticket revenue: https://www.fra.dot.gov/eLib/Details/L18616). 
 
Introduce a new "day" train between Cincinnati and Minneapolis (737 miles, 319 CIN-CHI, 418 CHI-MSP). Or if Congress is firm on the 750 miles, extend to St. Cloud to put it over the top.
 
Extend the CONO to SAS via HOS (would we change the name?) or the TE to NOL via HOS. I wouldn't expect anyone to take the "longer" route between CHI-NOL or CHI-SAS but NOL-SAS would be covered and you would add the possibility of a one seat ride between CHI-HOS.
 
Cancel the Cardinal, Sunset Limited, and Empire Builder with portions covered by the CONO extension and the new CIN-MSP train. If the portions between CIN-IND and NOL-SAS can get daily service then Amtrak would have no non daily service.
 
If the entire LD system were shut down, 23 states would lose all of its Amtrak service including Texas, Florida, and Ohio. With my plan, only 4 states would lose all Amtrak service with the 37 most populous states (https://en.wikipedia...s_by_population) maintaining at least some Amtrak service. Of the 13 least populous states in the country, four (Alaska, Hawaii, Wyoming, South Dakota) don't have any service right now, three (Maine, Vermont, and New Hampshire) have only state supported service, and two (Rhode Island and Delaware) have federally funded NEC service but no LD trains. 
 
Among the 382 Metropolitan Statistical Areas (https://en.wikipedia...atistical_Areas), only one MSA out of the 53 MSA's with 1 million or more people (Tucson) would lose Amtrak service and only three MSA's out of the 107 with 500,000 or more people would lose Amtrak service (Tucson, El Paso, and Spokane). 
 
Only one of the 12 most populous states (Texas) would lose any service at all. Cross country service between the NEC and California (both LAX and the Bay Area) via CHI would remain intact and North-South service would remain between NEC-Florida, LAX-SEA/PDX, CHI-NOL/Texas. The most significant connection lost to me would be between Texas and California but the SL has really low ridership (NOL-SAS would remain intact).
 
Train miles saved:
828 miles of the Cardinal between NYP-CIN (340 miles, NYP-CVS, would still have other service, including the Crescent)
1422 miles of the Sunset Limited SAS-LAX
1787 miles of the Empire Builder MSP-SEA
376 miles of the Empire Builder SPK-PDX
 
Total savings of 4413 train miles. 
 
12 stations on the Cardinal route can be closed.
13 stations on the Sunset Limited route can be closed.
33 stations on the Empire Builder route can be closed.
 
Total of 58 stations that Amtrak can close. Amtrak boasts more than 500 destinations. This would cut about 10% of the destinations but those 10% most likely amount to significantly less than 10% of the US population (the entire states of West Virginia, Idaho, Montana, and North Dakota combined contain less than 2% of the total US population and Amtrak barely touches Idaho now). I would say only 5-7% of the country that currently has Amtrak would lose service.
 
My hope is that this will cut around 10% of the Amtrak subsidy (over $100 million savings) while losing a lot less than 10% of Amtrak's ridership/revenue. Amtrak currently brags it covers 94% of operating costs with ticket revenue. Hopefully these changes will bring that percentage to 96-97%. And there is nothing stopping states from picking up the tab for the missing service. SEA-SPK can be added to the Cascades service that Washington already pays for. It is not unprecedented for states to do so, after the National Limited was canceled Pennsylvania started the Pennsylvanian service and Missouri added KCY-STL service.
 
In terms of schedule...
 
I'd like to move CIN outside the graveyard shift. The westbound train would leave CIN at 5:41am, arrive in CHI 2:05pm, leave CHI at 3:15pm, and arrive in MSP at 11:03pm. The eastbound train would leave MSP 6:00am, arrive in CHI at 1:55pm, leave CHI at 2:45pm, and arrive in CIN at 12:17am. 
 
I'd move the NOL-SAS portions closer to the CONO. Westbound leave NOL at 9:00pm, arriving in SAS at 12:05pm. Eastbound leave SAS at 6:25pm, arriving in NOL at 9:40am. This would allow a one seat ride between CHI and HOS with around a 5.5 hr gap in NOL going south and a 4.5 hr gap in NOL going north (the times in HOS would be 6:18/6:55am west and 11:10pm/12:10am east so you can't really cut the dwell times in NOL without screwing HOS). You would have a longer gap in SAS between the CONO extension and the TE but it currently requires an overnight stay now anyway. Ideally you'd move the NOL-SAS closer to the TE so you can close the service facilities in SAS but with HOS-SAS only being around 5 hours the times would be bad on one or both ends.
 
Even if the CIN-CHI, CHI-MSP, and NOL-SAS schedules couldn't be changed, at least service remains along those routes. 
 
I'd be reluctant to cut any more trains than I have proposed. Will the cuts get a few more Congress critters to support Amtrak at a cheaper price than the current price?
Maybe you should consult with the people that depend on the services you propose cutting before you actually do, as Montana, North Dakota, and Washington will all fight to retain the empire builder.

 

Considering the EB is currently the only option from CHI to MSP, I will fight for the EB if it means I have to fight a fist fight for every dollar. (Obviously a hyperbole, but I just might do that)


Empire Builder MSP-CHI (2) CHI-MSP (2) MSP-PDX (1) MSP-CBS (5.5 H late) (1) MKE-MSP (1) MSP-SEA (1) Coast Starlate PDX-EMY (1.5H late) (1) California Zephyr DEN-SLC (1H late) (1) Hiawatha CHI-MKE (1) NE Regional WAS-BAL (1) WAS-NYP (1) Acela Express BAL-WAS (1) BOS-WAS (1) Late Shore (Limited service) CHI-BOS (On Time) (1) Capitol Limited WAS-CHI (1) Texas Eagle SAS-CHI (1.5 HR late, 1 HR late) (2) CHI-SAS (1) (55 min early) Wolverine DET-DER-ARB-CHI (35 Min late) (1) Cascades SEA-VAC (1)
Non-Amtrak: VIA: Corridor Service Q.C.-Montreal-Ottawa-Toronto-Windsor (1) Canadian: VAC-Winnipeg 4.5 H late (1) D. C. metro, Montreal Metro, Toronto subway, Portland streetcars, BART, Metra, NYC subway, Boston subway, Twin cities Blue/Green line
train cars travelled in: Superliner: Coach, Sleeper, Diner, CCC, SSL. Amfleet: LD Café, Café/Business, coach. Viewliner: Sleeper, Diner. Acela: Café, Business, quiet car. Horizon: Coach. Talgo: coach, diner, café; non Amtrak: ex CP Via Canadian Manor cars, Park car, diner,sleeper, Skyline lounge. LRC trainset: coach (tilt de-activated)

No trees were killed to make this, but a number of electrons were terribly inconvenienced.

My apologies if I offend you, or seem stubborn, it's simply my nature. I am 14 after all, and my English isn't exactly perfect.





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