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What Amtrak Would Look Like Without State Funded Service?


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#1 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 06:46 PM

Much has been made about what Amtrak would look like if they canceled the LD system as the Trump/Heritage budget suggested. In addition to the NEC, state supported trains will exist (assuming continuing funding) although some trains would lose a lot of riders without LD trains supporting them.

 

Whenever I (or any state/city) asks "where's my train", Congress's response since they put together the 750 mile route essentially is "go ask your state". We know some states refuse to provide service despite potential routes such as Cleveland-Cincinnati and Dallas-Houston which look to be quite popular. 

 

So the question is what if every state thought like that and there were no state supported train service in the US and the only Amtrak service would be the NEC and the LD trains? It certainly wouldn't be as drastic as cutting LD's but there certainly would be holes in Amtrak.

 

States who would lose all their service:

Maine

Vermont

New Hampshire

Michigan

Oklahoma

 

Cities who would lose all their service

Harrisburg, Lancaster

Newport News, Norfolk

Niagara Falls

Detroit

Oklahoma City

San Diego (Correction: Santa Barbara is on the CS)

Fresno, Bakersfield

 

Missing routes:

Pittsburgh-Philadelphia

Charlotte-Raleigh

Chicago-Detroit or Grand Rapids

Los Angeles-San Diego

 

Forget all the areas that don't have service now, these areas wouldn't exist without their states' support. Congress has basically said these routes and service to these states/cities is "not our problem", not to mention the trains/routes that won't appear if the states continue to say no like they have. And if California, Pennsylvania, Michigan, North Carolina, Illinois, etc. stopped funding services to these states/cities would disappear as well.  In my state of PA, only four stops would have service and one is Connellsville which barely counts unless you live there. This doesn't include areas/routes that would lose a lot of service (ex. upstate New York would only have the LSL, Milwaukee would only have the EB). You say Amtrak needs to serve the areas that they do, what about the areas that only have state supported service or none at all?

 

Without a doubt the LD system covers a lot more area than the state supported system but there would be significant losses as well. 


Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan, 25 April 2017 - 09:18 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/

 


#2 BCL

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 08:59 PM

The Coast Starlight runs through Santa Barbara.

I think it could easily shift to locally operated routes. Maybe even contract out operations to Amtrak like Metrolink does.

#3 Thirdrail7

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Posted 25 April 2017 - 09:07 PM

You understated the Empire Service and the Springfield Shuttles with your equation. While some of the stations are duplicated by the Lake Shore and the Regional service along the Springfield Line, everything along the Adirondack Line north of Schenectady and service to Niagara Falls/Toronto would be lost.  Unless the trains that remained along the route made additional stops, certain stations would not see service (like Rome or Yonkers.)


They say laughter is the best medicine. Obviously they never posted on AU.


#4 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 06:21 AM

Amtrak brags they cover 94% of their operating costs with ticket revenue but that figure doesn't include the state funded service (after they stopped funding it). I wonder if the increase is significantly due to passing on the operating costs of these trains to the states.


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/

 


#5 Ryan

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 06:35 AM

Amtrak didn't do anything.

Congress stopped funding it and shifted the burden onto the states.
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#6 Carolina Special

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 08:04 AM

The % of operating cost coverage would probably be back in the 80 something percent range without the state supported routes money. Although the state supported routes are where a lot (most?) of the route growth has been the last few years.

#7 jis

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 10:01 AM

The growth of any sector generally is proportional to the investment. Since state investments have been relatively robust, it is not surprising that performance on those routes have been better. To the extent that 209 forced the issue and brought in investments that were previously absent, it is a good thing. It is not about what Amtrak does. It is more about how, collectively, rail passenger service grows overall, and how much funding we can shake lose from the feds and the states overall.

#8 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 26 April 2017 - 04:59 PM

I forgot St. Louis to Kansas City (both cities would have service from their LD trains but no traffic between them).


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/

 


#9 winterskigirl

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 02:51 PM

States on the left coast would continue to fund rail service.  It might not be Amtrak but they would fund.  Same with the east coast.  Where you're likely to loose service is the desolately populated small towns in fly over country.  



#10 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 06:48 PM

I don't think it really matters what part of the country you are in when it comes to which states fund and which don't. There are currently two groups of states, those who currently have state supported service (most of which are on one coast or the other) and those who don't. States who currently have it see the benefit of having it and will continue to fund it and are more likely to expand service. Even Scott Walker isn't dumb enough to shut down the Hiawatha service. But good luck getting a state to start Amtrak state supported service now, even service augmenting current routes. We've only had a handful this century. And how much state cooperation exists now? Very little. Why can't Minnesota go to Wisconsin and agree to fund service between Chicago and Minneapolis?  Ohio could send some help to extend the Michigan service to Toledo or the Hoosier State to Cincinnati with relatively little cost. North Carolina could go to Virginia and work together to take the current Richmond service and extend it to Raleigh. Think of it as a second Carolinian with the bonus of continuing to Boston. States cooperating could have a big impact on expanding Amtrak, especially in the current 750 mile rule climate.

 

Like LD service, there has been little growth among state supported service either. We could see expansion of service in states that have service but probably not any new states like Texas, Florida, or Ohio. 


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/

 


#11 Carolina Special

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Posted 30 April 2017 - 08:07 PM

As the 3/29/17 Amtrak OIG Report states (pg.17), Amtrak has had difficulty negotiating state and other stakeholder agreements "due to weaknesses in the company's financial performance tracking system, errors in billing, and disagreements between states and commuter authorities as to which Amtrak costs they should share and to what extent". Also Amtrak is inexperienced in handling business to business environments where they have to treat states as customers and provide "timely and courteous service". Whether allocated costs are appropriate is also an issue, as is transparency.

So if you're a state decision maker, do you really want to get involved in setting up new routes before Amtrak gets its act together? Assuming it does, of course. Or go ahead now and possibly find out you've been overpaying some years down the road, and suffer the financial and political fallout.

#12 neroden

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 02:37 PM

Allocated costs are a disaster.  The Amtrak system really needs to get rid of them and track costs at source, but they haven't.  Big IT project.


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#13 jis

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Posted 01 May 2017 - 03:25 PM

Apparently one big issue with what Amtrak is trying to charge states has to do with the - what amounts to - dart board numbers they are using to account for the capital cost of equipment, in order to build a fund to replace said equipment eventually. Most states have baulked at that and asked for accounting, and Amtrak has been unable to provide anything that passes simple credibility test, apparently.






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