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Maricopa-Phoenix Shuttle


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#21 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 12:24 AM

Looks like they've added the timetable to the Sunset Limited's page. To meet the eastbound train, be ready to get on the shuttle as early as 3:15 AM.

 
I have reason to travel between Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Antonio, which are the 2nd, 6th, and 7th most populous cities in the country.  On most days I would travel Amtrak's Sunset Limited offers no service whatsoever, and on the few days that it does five out of six calling times between these three cities are during typical resting hours between 10:00PM and 5:30AM.  There are few if any flights between these cities during Amtrak's service window, probably because most people do not want to travel in the dead of night if they can avoid it.

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 01 May 2017 - 11:49 AM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#22 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 11:46 AM

 

Looks like they've added the timetable to the Sunset Limited's page. To meet the eastbound train, be ready to get on the shuttle as early as 3:15 AM.

I have reason to travel between Los Angeles, Phoenix, and San Antonio, which are the 2nd, 6th, and 7th most populous cities in the country.  On most days I would travel Amtrak's Sunset Limited offers no service whatsoever. On the few days that it does [offer service], five out of six calling times between these three cities are during typical resting hours between 10:00PM and 5:30AM.

In Amtrak's defense, L.A. and Phoenix are simply the wrong distance apart for Amtrak's current speeds. So Amtrak gave the longer L.A.-Tucson segment the better times for an overnight each way.

 

To fix the Phoenix distance problem would require a huge investment in upgrading the route to 110 mph or even 125 mph. Sure, when we get the money.

 

Another factor is the connection to/from the Coast Starlight, which is worth some millions in revenue to both trains. Here money is being spent, on serious planning at least, where California wants to upgrade the overlapping Surfliner route L.A.-Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, and then push on to San Jose, connecting to Bay Area trains. Restoring this coastal route to pre-Amtrak run times will save an hour or two from the current timetables. When the Starlight can reliably arrive in L.A. at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., the Sunset's departure could be moved up into a more friendly evening time instead of leaving at 10:30 when some good folks want to be in bed.

 

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Shuttle is a good thing on its own. It's also a service being put in place so the bugs can be worked out prior to daily service on the Sunset.

 

That's the big one: Daily service. iiuc, that upgrade will require only one more train set, and some more money, of course, tho not that much more money. But the PRIIA study way back when claimed that ridership will double. That will yield lower loss per rider, better farebox recovery, and other improvements in the metrics, very much including the customer satisfaction scores.

 

Again, the cure for what ails Amtrak is more Amtrak.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 01 May 2017 - 11:56 AM.


#23 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 01:24 PM

In Amtrak's defense, L.A. and Phoenix are the wrong distance apart, so Amtrak gave the longer L.A.-Tucson segment the better times for an overnight each way. To fix the Phoenix distance problem would require a huge investment in upgrading the route. Sure, if we had the money.


If Amtrak wants LAX-MRC to be an overnight trip they can simply slow down the speedometer and suddenly it's an overnight trip. Much of our national network is slowing down anyway due to lack of passenger focused track maintenance so why not choose a speed and schedule that makes calling times desirable for the biggest cities on the route? I realize that slowing down is counterintuitive but it's time we admitted that nobody is taking the Sunset Limited to get somewhere quickly. If speed was important they'd be flying or driving instead of waiting days on end for the Sunset to eventually show up.
 
 

Another factor is the connection to/from the Coast Starlight, which is worth some millions in revenue to both trains. Here money is being spent, on serious planning at least, where California wants to upgrade the Surfliner route L.A.-Santa Barbara-San Luis Obispo, and then push on to San Jose, connecting to Bay Area trains. Restoring this coastal route to pre-Amtrak times will save an hour or two from the current timetables. When the Starlight can reliably arrive in L.A. at 7 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., the Sunset's departure could be moved up into a more friendly evening time instead of leaving at 10:30 when some folks want to be in bed.


I'm not convinced that connecting with the Coast Starlight is worth the lousy calling times. Nor does the CS connection explain the SL's 5:35AM arrivals into LAUS. You know what can explain those schedules? Amtrak's official meal times. The Sunset Limited is scheduled to arrive just before breakfast would start and departs just after dinner would have ended.

 

Meanwhile, the Phoenix Shuttle is a good thing on its own, but it also a service being put in place and the bugs worked out prior to daily service on the Sunset. That's the big one: Daily service. iiuc, that upgrade will require only one more train set, and some more money, of course, tho not that much more money. But the PRIIA study way back when claimed that ridership will double, yielding lower loss per rider and other improvements in the metrics, very much including the customer satisfaction scores.


The Sunset Limited gave away a train set when the current schedule was put in place. I've never seen or heard what happened to that train set but I doubt it's sitting around waiting to come back anytime soon. It's probably long since been "spent" on replacing one of the trains some commercial trucker casually destroyed with cowboy logic. As for the money, has the UP come down from their absurd $750 million dollar demand for a single one-time schedule change, and if so by how much?

Edited by Devil's Advocate, 02 May 2017 - 12:07 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#24 Chicoan

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 07:21 PM

http://media.amtrak....-phoenix-tempe/

 

Here's the shuttle info. On a different note, the Amtrak site also now shows a couple of Wyoming bus routes (Casper, Cheyenne, Buffalo). But no press release on those, and (last time I looked) not yet included on timetables.



#25 west point

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:04 PM

I'm not convinced that connecting with the Coast Starlight is worth the lousy calling times. Nor does the CS connection explain the SL's 5:35AM arrivals into LAUS. You know what can explain those schedules? Amtrak's official meal times. The Sunset Limited is scheduled to arrive just before breakfast would start and departs just after dinner would have ended.


Until Amtrak give us figures on connecting passengers between trains not just LAX but also NOL, CHI, KCY, WASH, NYP, PHL, and other lesser stations. We cannot tell just how important thru passengers are. We cannot really tell the importance of same day and next day connections. Those numbers are really important to the whole LD and SD train interconnectivity.

Edited by west point, 02 May 2017 - 12:08 PM.


#26 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:28 PM

Until Amtrak give us figures on connecting passengers between trains not just LAX but also NOL, CHI, KCY, WASH, NYP, PHL, and other lesser stations. We cannot tell just how important thru passengers are. We cannot really tell the importance of same day and next day connections. Those numbers are really important to the whole LD and SD train interconnectivity.

Thinking that I read that 30% of pax at Chicago are transferring. Also saw an illustration of the Capitol Ltd. traffic that showed an enormous amount of transfers at Pittsburgh. So we can start with a notion that thru passengers are really important.

 

Wish we could get more info. I suspect there is more info deep (like check the Appendix, LOL) into the PRIIA studies of the LD trains. I recall that the PRIIA study of the Sunset Ltd. had figures on the anticipated loss (transfer, really) of riders from the Southwest Chief to a daily Sunset Ltd, by riders and revenue.



#27 west point

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 12:38 PM

Wish we could get more info. I suspect there is more info deep (like check the Appendix, LOL) into the PRIIA studies of the LD trains. I recall that the PRIIA study of the Sunset Ltd. had figures on the anticipated loss (transfer, really) of riders from the Southwest Chief to a daily Sunset Ltd, by riders and revenue.


Train to train connections is something NARP could pursue much better than we can. The PRIIA studies are somewhat dated but once saw a detailed study of connections were shown somewhere as a graphic. Maybe some one can recover it ? ?

#28 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:10 PM

Page 34-35 discusses the Capitol Limited connections in CHI, WAS, and PGH. The CL is probably unique in that there are transfers in both ends and (although it shouldn't be) PGH.

 

https://www.amtrak.c...inal-Report.pdf


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/

 


#29 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 02:43 PM

In Amtrak's defense, L.A. and Phoenix are the wrong distance apart, so Amtrak gave the longer L.A.-Tucson segment the better times for an overnight each way. To fix the Phoenix distance problem would require a huge investment in upgrading the route. Sure, if we had the money.

Sorry, I lost Devil's Advocate's credit line. These are his points below.

 

If Amtrak wants LAX-MRC to be an overnight trip they can simply slow down the speedometer and suddenly it's an overnight trip.

 

Much of our national network is slowing down anyway due to lack of passenger focused track maintenance, so why not choose a speed and schedule that makes calling times desirable for the biggest cities on the route?

 

I realize that slowing down is counter-intuitive but it's time we admitted that nobody is taking the Sunset Limited to get somewhere quickly. If speed was important, they'd be flying or driving instead of waiting days on end for the Sunset to eventually show up.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++

I'm cool with going slow on purpose. I'd take a look at having the Cardinal go slow on purpose if Indiana would agree to run a Hoosier State corridor train Cincy-Indy-CHI. The proposed Gulf Coast extension of the CONO to Orlando may go slow on purpose on the overnight segment Pensacola-Tallahassee.

 

The national system slowing down? Could be. I'd love to see figures for average speed per LD train. Hey, per corridor train, why not. Guess I could work them up myself from the timetables, but I might not live long enuff to finish such a project! I used to see throw-away references to "Amtrak average speed" as being 55 mph, but not lately.

 

Later this year the system will start to speed up a bit as the Stimulus projects kick in. 

 

a) The Starlight and the 6 Cascades frequencies should go 10 minutes faster Seattle-Portland, mostly thanks to the Fort Defiance cut-off.

 

b) The 4 Lincoln trains are supposed to go "about an hour" faster CHI-St Louis with some stretches at 110-mph running. The overlapping Eagle will probably save about half an hour without any 110-mph benefits, from new signaling, double-tracked sections, more and longer passing sidings, protected grade crossings, etc.

 

c) The Piedmonts and the Carolinian will save at least half an hour Raleigh-Greensboro-Charlotte, from assorted upgrades to the route, and the Crescent could shave 10 or 15 minutes Greensboro-Charlotte.

 

d) New signaling, new platforms and tracks at Albany station, double-tracking Albany-Schenectady will reduce delays and could shave minutes from the schedules of the Ethan Allen, the Adirondack, the Lake Shore Ltd, the Maple Leaf, and the Empire service to Buffalo/Niagara Falls.

 

e) Work at Harold Interlocking in NYC was touted to save 3 minutes off every Acela and Regional to Boston. But let's assume the Harold Interlocking is delayed and over budget, so maybe not this year. :(

 

f) And I forgot one: on the D.C.-Richmond corridor, ARRA funds were assigned to adding a third or fourth track, over a wider bridge, etc. near Quantico, with the announced aim of saving up to 10 minutes. (I'd be glad to get 5 minutes.) The time savings will apply to all the VRE trains, to Amtrak's Palmetto, Silver Meteor, and Silver Star, and to Virginia trains to Norfolk, Newport News, and Richmond.

 

That's gonna have a nice impact. The Norfolk train that departs at the awfully early 6:10 a.m. could leave at 6:20 a.m. instead. The Palmetto could arrive in Savannah at 8:50 p.m. instead of 9 p.m., which sounds a lot better. LOL.

 

Dayum. Forgot still more.

 

g) About a third of the Wolverine route, Kalamazoo to Dearborn, is being upgraded to 110-mph running. Michigan expects to see 40 or 50 minutes come out of the schedule iirc.

 

h) The route of the 'Springfield Shuttle' is being upgraded with double track, new culverts, etc to carry heavy commuter train traffic, and to chop about half an hour out of the New Haven-Hartford-Springfield Regionals and the Vermonter schedules.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 02 May 2017 - 04:52 PM.


#30 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 02 May 2017 - 03:52 PM

Imma tryin to split y long long comment, and of course I lost the Member names and time tags. But I hope it works.

 

This is Devil's Advocate, then +++++ my reply.

 

I'm not convinced that connecting with the Coast Starlight is worth the lousy calling times. Nor does the CS connection explain the SL's 5:35 AM arrivals into LAUS. You know what can explain those schedules? Amtrak's official meal times. The Sunset Limited is scheduled to arrive just before breakfast would start and departs just after dinner would have ended.

 

+++++++++++++++++++++

Isn't that 5:30 a.m. arrival in L.A. at 6:30 a.m. Arizona time? So you actually get to sleep an hour later than it appears.

 

Anyway, iiuc, Amtrak doesn't own the L.A. Terminal, but is merely a tenant. The local owner told Amtrak that it couldn't get a later slot, because that would be rush hour for all the commuter trains. So Amtrak settled for what it could get. Sorry that's so early. Not very sorry that riders have to alight first and then have breakfast in the nice station. Especially considering the savings from not paying crew to prepare breakfast.

 

The station in L.A. is scheduled for major revamping to allow thru-running. Will that work open a later slot for the Sunset arrival? I wouldn't count on it. The LD train occupies platform space while unloading baggage, disabled and sleepyhead riders, maybe more. The commuter trains pull in, the riders hurry to get off, any contra-flow riders jump on, and the train pulls out. And again, that 3-days-a-week thing: the Sunset would disrupt the station's schedules much less if it ran a regular daily schedule.

 

The Sunset's 10:30 p.m. departure is based on the Starlight's 9 p.m. arrival. Upgrades Santa Barbara-L.A, and then San Luis Obispo-Santa Barbara, should bring the L.A. arrival forward by half an hour and then an hour. That will allow an earlier, more friendly evening departure for the Sunset.

 

Meanwhile I ain't mad at Amtrak for avoiding paying staff for one meal a day. I'm comfortable that passengers can find something good to eat in L.A., even in the station, before boarding.






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