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Crescent to Texas via Meridian Speedway?


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#21 jis

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 10:35 AM

It will require 5 consists of the Fort Worth section and 4 for the New Orleans section. If they simply split the current train into two, then the Fort Worth Section would probably consist of one Viewlienr Sleeper, one Amfleet II Cafe two Amfleet II Coaches, and possibly a Bag Dorm.

 

So net net it will require one additional Viewliner Sleeper, on Amfleet II Cafe, 2 Amfleet II Coach and 5 Bag Dorm, which is within the realm of possibilities even without ordering additional equipment, if it is viewed as a higher priority.



#22 Anderson

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 02:16 PM

I will say...the equipment numbers don't work (we're basically short across the board) and I don't know what the ridership would look like with the truncation, but running the resulting train as a Superliner consist WAS-FTW would at least be mechanically viable: All of the stations south of WAS are, I believe, low-level platforms (I know CVS and ALX are, I know Manassas has to be due to VRE service, etc.).  Still, that would force a transfer at WAS and that is definitely a problem.


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#23 A Voice

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Posted 19 April 2017 - 03:10 PM

It will require 5 consists of the Fort Worth section and 4 for the New Orleans section. If they simply split the current train into two, then the Fort Worth Section would probably consist of one Viewlienr Sleeper, one Amfleet II Cafe two Amfleet II Coaches, and possibly a Bag Dorm.

 

So net net it will require one additional Viewliner Sleeper, on Amfleet II Cafe, 2 Amfleet II Coach and 5 Bag Dorm, which is within the realm of possibilities even without ordering additional equipment, if it is viewed as a higher priority.

 

I would agree a Baggage-Dorm sort of makes sense for a Crescent extension, but there are only ten on order and half of those are presumably bound for the Cardinal and Lake Shore Limited.  There wouldn't be enough for the Crescent also; One or more trains will necessarily have a full baggage car.  

 

I will say...the equipment numbers don't work (we're basically short across the board) and I don't know what the ridership would look like with the truncation, but running the resulting train as a Superliner consist WAS-FTW would at least be mechanically viable: All of the stations south of WAS are, I believe, low-level platforms (I know CVS and ALX are, I know Manassas has to be due to VRE service, etc.).  Still, that would force a transfer at WAS and that is definitely a problem.

 

It would be much easier (and actually possible) to scrounge up four or five individual cars - lounge, a few coaches, and sleeper - than it would to find five complete sets of Superliner equipment - some 45 to 50 cars.  That many additional Superliners simply do not exist.  It's not an option, period.  

 

Amtrak is more short of single-level cars than Superliners, true enough, but the relative handful of Superliners which can be spared are essentially spoken for by the City of New Orleans extension to Florida.  


Edited by A Voice, 19 April 2017 - 03:14 PM.


#24 neroden

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 05:03 PM

Bluntly, I don't consider this possible without ordering additional equipment, period.  There aren't enough bag-dorms.  There aren't enough full bags.  There aren't enough Viewliner Sleepers.  There aren't enough Amfleet II Coaches.

 

If I were being snarky I would suggest an "all table seating" train made up entirely of Amfleet and Horizon cafes.  :-P

 

"If they simply split the current train into two, then the Fort Worth Section would probably consist of one Viewliner Sleeper, one Amfleet II Cafe two Amfleet II Coaches, and possibly a Bag Dorm."

This is definitely too short a consist for this service and they'd need to expand it immediately.  Anything less than two sleepers from DFW to Atlanta is ridiculous.  You might well be able to reduce the New Orleans section to one sleeper, but the DFW section would definitely get substantially more business than the New Orleans section.


Edited by neroden, 21 April 2017 - 05:07 PM.

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#25 Seaboard92

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Posted 21 April 2017 - 07:43 PM

Correct me if I'm wrong because I'm not positive. But weren't some AM I coaches converted into AM I cafe's at one time.
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#26 Anderson

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 02:55 AM

On the presumption that the Viewliner II order ever arrives (sigh), I think you'd probably be looking at two sleepers, the diner, two or three coaches, and the baggage car going to Dallas/Fort Worth and a sleeper, a bag-dorm, the cafe, and two or three coaches going to New Orleans.  In particular, I think Texas is going to become your "backup transfer point" the next time Chicago goes to hell in a handbasket, especially if we ever get a Daily Sunset (since my best guess is that Amtrak would work to time a workable connection at DFW).

Of course, while I agree that a single sleeper is too little for this route, I also find the presence of only three sleepers on the Meteor to also be inadequate.  Ditto three on the LSL and only two on the Crescent (I mean, c'mon...this is a train that required two sections at the holidays well into the 1970s and probably has one of the best "business timings" in the system for WAS-ATL).  If nothing else, the fact that Amtrak seems to have gotten stuck calibrating sleeper capacity to about the 25th percentile in terms of demand (to ensure that equipment gets utilized and due to eternal funding shortages) is...shall we say, regrettable from many perspectives.


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#27 jis

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 08:19 AM


Mostly it was the other way round AFAIR. They originally happened to get more food service cars than were eventually needed, as the service and usage patterns changed. See Warner's book "Amtrak by the Numbers"

#28 Carolina Special

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 08:28 AM

"Amtrak by the Numbers" starts at $69.95 plus $3.99 shipping at Amazon. No Kindle option. Yikes!

#29 jis

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 08:53 AM

"Amtrak by the Numbers" starts at $69.95 plus $3.99 shipping at Amazon. No Kindle option. Yikes!

Comprehensive and accurate collection of facts costs. You get what you pay for.

Incidentally Warner is also one of the driving force behind the OTOL Forum which hosts the Amtrak Roster web page.

Edited by jis, 22 April 2017 - 08:55 AM.


#30 Carolina Special

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 09:21 AM

Perhaps, but I prefer to pay a bit less. Last week I bought a book on Amazon on "The Air War over Europe 1939-1945" translated from original German that I'm ploughing through. Hardcover price was $66.47, Kindle $15.95. Guess which version I got?

IMHO there really should be a Kindle version of everything these days. I rarely buy hardbacks or paperbacks anymore.

#31 jis

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 11:29 AM

Well. I guess you won't get this book, and that's OK. It is the author's choice how they wish to publish and what they wish to charge And of course it is the buyers choice what they wish to spend. That is how the market is supposed to work.

Edited by jis, 22 April 2017 - 01:03 PM.


#32 Carolina Special

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 11:43 AM

Yep, I agree.

#33 neroden

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 06:47 PM

FWIW much of the information in Amtrak By The Numbers is on the Amtrak Roster on OTOL, so if you just want a quick glance at the cafe-to-coach conversions, that's online.


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#34 jis

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Posted 22 April 2017 - 09:10 PM

Yeah. The only thing missing is the detailed history of each car through all the renumberings a refurbs.

#35 Anthony V

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 02:09 PM

This is a great route.

KCS currently doesn't really host Amtrak, so I do wonder how much work it will be to get agreement, but since it's a joint NS-KCS venture that might not be a problem.

UP is OK with it by all accounts. It could run on KCS all the way to the east side of the Metroplex, but that is a slow and twisty route. Or it could switch to UP from Shreveport to Dallas; I think the inclination will be to do the latter (fewer new stations, faster route) but you never know. CN (host for Jackson MS) might be uncooperative.

Shreveport seems to be really seriously actively trying to get rail service whether from west or from east, so maybe it'll happen...

Lot of new stations would need to be built,though. Even on the simpler UP route, new stations would be needed at Shreveport, Monroe, and Vicksburg, at a minimum. I don't even know where you'd put a station in Vicksburg; I don't see a good location.

The passenger potential here is large. The main thing to think about here is that Dallas-Fort Worth would "anchor" the route from the west end; people would take the train from Dallas as far as New York. I believe it would be faster than the LSL-Texas Eagle combo (leave NY at 3:40 PM on day 1, arrive at 11:30 AM on day 3).

If we assume the train can travel as fast as driving (it can't), it would leave NY at 2:15 on day 1, arrive Meridian at 2:58 PM on day 2, arrive Dallas at... um... 1:10 AM on day 3.  Probably a bit slower than that, so maybe arrive early morning into Dallas.

The catch here is... as always these days... *equipment*.  The Crescent arrives NOLA at 7:32 PM and leaves at 7 AM the next morning.  This branch would arrive Dallas at 5 AM the next morning, most likely.  If it was as fast as driving it would have to leave at 1 AM or so to get back to Meridian by 11 AM.  With more plausible (but still fast) schedules, it might be leaving at 11 PM.  Anyway, this means it needs *one more trainset* than the current Crescent, five instead of four.

As such I find it highly implausible that it'll happen quickly; it'll require purchasing more sleepers and coaches and locomotives.

The Crescent has long had a problem with the train being underutilized south of Atlanta and there have been many proposals to cut off the extra cars there. Instead, a better idea would be to use that extra equipment for the proposed DFW section of the Crescent (Crescent Star). This would likely increase the rolling stock's usage considerably south of Atlanta (because it would be running to another big market) while allowing it to keep generating revenue and at least partially solving the equipment barrier to starting this new service. When the new Viewliners are finally delivered, that will bring the needed diners, sleepers and baggage cars to fill the rest of the void of equipment needed to start this service.



#36 west point

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Posted 23 April 2017 - 08:40 PM

Splitting the Crescent at Meridian would be very easy compared to Atlanta. Extra sidings and ability to add more sidings at MEI station.

#37 ainamkartma

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Posted 24 April 2017 - 03:32 PM

Here's a slightly different idea:
Instead of splitting the Crescent at Meridian to create the Crescent Star, instead split the Palmetto somewhere between WAS and Selma-Smithfield, NC to create the Palm Star!  This would have a schedule that looks something like:

 

      SB Palm Star    NB Palm Star

NY      5:45                 23:50

WAS 10:00                19:35

RAL  15:00                14:15

CLT  18:50                10:45

ATL    0:50                  4:45

MRD  5:35                  0:00

DFW 17:35              12:00:00

 

It would have the following features:

1) Not add a train to the NEC, since it would be a lengthening of the Palmetto (which typically has six to seven cars, as I understand it, and thus underutilizes the NEC infrasctructure)

2) Daytime running between ATL and NY, admittedly with less than perfect timing in ATL

3) Good connections from the SB Star Palm to the NB Texas Eagle and vice versa, at the cost of an overnight connection to the SB TE and vice versa.

4) Adds a fourth very well timed frequency to the Piedmont route in both directions

5) Uses five train sets, if I am counting correctly, which would be something like:

sleeper, sleeper, diner, cafe, coach, coach, coach, baggage for a total of 15 cars north of the split and eight south of it.

 

What do you think?

 

Ainamkartma

 

ps Or _in addition to_ splitting the Crescent...


Edited by ainamkartma, 24 April 2017 - 03:35 PM.


#38 Anthony V

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 02:56 PM

Splitting the Crescent at Meridian would be very easy compared to Atlanta. Extra sidings and ability to add more sidings at MEI station.

It would still split at Meridian. It's just that the extra capacity south of Atlanta would go to Ft. Worth instead of being cut off at Atlanta, which also alleviates the equipment shortage barrier to starting this route.


Edited by Anthony V, 25 April 2017 - 02:59 PM.


#39 neroden

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 03:29 PM

If it could be done with 4 consists instead of 5 I'd say there would be no equipment problem.  As it is they have to scrounge up an extra consist to go to Fort Worth.


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#40 A Voice

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Posted 28 April 2017 - 03:48 PM

If it could be done with 4 consists instead of 5 I'd say there would be no equipment problem.  As it is they have to scrounge up an extra consist to go to Fort Worth.

 

Not a complete consist though, just the cars split into the Texas section (presumably lounge, sleeper, and a couple coaches).  The remainder of the train can continue with the existing four sets.  Seems possible, even with Amtrak's perennial equipment constraints.  






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