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.