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Revisiting Amtrak's Network Growth Strategy, 1999


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#21 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 07 May 2017 - 11:14 PM

The first big step is more equipment (and that's not even getting to host railroad negotiation). The equipment is the reason for my desire to shuffle the deck or cannibalize as you've described it.

First big step is more single-level equipment:

Enuff Viewliner II sleepers and bag-dorms to

 

a) add one more to each of the LD trainsets already scheduled to get one more sleeper from the current order,

 

b) to help make another set (as seems to be required) to take the Cardinal daily,

 

c) to replace the three sets of Superliner bi-level equipment used

on the Capitol Ltd (thereby freeing up those cars to be put to use on the Western trains),

 

d) to replace the sets of Superliner bi-level equipment now used on the City of New Orleans and its coming Gulf Coast extension New Orleans-Orlando (freeing up even more cars for use out West), and

 

f) to use on expansion, including but not limited to,

  i)  the Crescent split Meridian-Jackson-Shreveport-Dallas-Ft Worth,

  ii) a Cardinal split at Cincinnati or Indianapolis to St Louis-Kansas City,

possibly on to Omaha-CHI, or simply to CHI. (The segment Kansas City-Omaha would be new, connecting the California Zephyr at Omaha with the Southwest Chief and Missouri's River Runners Kansas City-St Louis. I'm taking the train back to CHI so it can get maintenance. If not going to Omaha, the segment Kansas City-CHI would add a second frequency to the popular route between those city pairs, in effect beginning corridor service there.)

 iii) One or more trains CHI-NEC, to the extent slots can be found on the crowded freight routes.

 

Let's order plenty Viewliner IIs while the iron is hot. If the production line shuts down and the painfully trained labor force is dissipated, any follow-up order coming 2 or 3 years later will surely be more costly per unit, and very problematic in other ways as well.

 

Second big step is even more single-level equipment:

Enuff coaches and lounges, many hundreds of them, to

 

  a) replace all the cars on the Regionals,

      i) including the Amtrak Virginia routes and

      ii) New Haven-Springfield-Worcester-Boston

 

  b) add another coach to every train set of the six single-level LD trains,

 

  c) maybe add still another coach to every LD trainset,

 

  d) add a coach to every corridor train where feasible,

     i) the Downeaster

    ii) the Vermonter

    III) the Ethan Allen

    iv) the Adirondack

     v) the Maple Leaf

     vi) the Empire Service NYC-Albany-Buffalo/Niagara Falls

     vii) the Pennsylvanian

    viii) the Keystones

     ix) the Hoosier State, as a second frequency CHI-Indy, or better CHI-Indy-Cincy after the Cardinal goes daily (could use bi-level cars, whichever are available).

      x) the Carolinian (up to NC to decide)

 

  e) train sets for potential new corridors and extensions, e.g.

       i) St Albans-Montreal

       ii) Rutland-Burlington, VT

       iii) NYC-Scranton-(later Birmingham/Elmira-Syracuse)

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Richmond-Petersburg-(restored S line)-Raleigh

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Bristol, VA/TN

       v) Bristol-Knoxville-Chattanooga

       vi) Chattanooga-Huntsville-Birmingham-Montgomery-Dalton,AL-Tallahassee-Jacksonville-Orlando and/or Montgomery-Mobile-Biloxi-New Orleans

           (actually one or two new LD routes)

        vii) CHI-Indy-Louisville-Lexington-Knoxville-Chattanooga-plus vi) above

           (actually another one or two new LD routes)

        viii) NEC-DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Charleston-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando (another new LD route)

      

Third big step is to order hundreds of bi-level cars for the Western trains.

Enuff coaches and lounges to replace the aging Superliners and add at least one sleeper and one or two more coaches to every set of trains on the LD routes. Restore the Sacajawea aka North Coast Hiawatha (but forget the Pioneer, it's a sure loser). Revive or create a route St Paul-Sioux Falls, SD-Sioux City, IA-Omaha-Lincoln, NE-St Joseph, MO-Kansas City-Wichita-Oklahoma City-Ft Worth- Austin-San Antonio

 

I could elaborate on the third step, but it's past my bedtime. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

In summary, First, Second, and Third steps are all about getting lots more equipment. More cars, more seats, more riders, more revenues, more network effects, more frequencies, more economies of scale, and so, lower losses. Nothing succeeds like success, and even partial steps -- this is a 10-year plan -- make it easier to get support for the next steps.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 07 May 2017 - 11:23 PM.


#22 Anderson

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:17 AM

 

I'll take this on.  To do so, I will have to channel my inner (with all due respect) "PhillyAmtrakFan."  It isn't just a matter of ignoring the PIPs. Indeed, there are ongoing operational evaluations. How do you think you ended up with a combined 89/181?  However, implementing the PIPs or other plans requires capital and cooperation. Most of the plans usually involve additional equipment or funds. I haven't really seen any of that appear. As such, if you implement something that sounds like a "no-brainer," you're basically taking from something or someone else. In the Adding a Coach to the Palmetto thread, Neroden accurately pointed out that adding a car to the Palmetto will ultimately mean that someone else will not have a car. Who gets cut? Is it worth it? Is the equipment better used elsewhere?  Should we sacrifice an AMII coach from FLA service to help "improve" an existing service profile? Should we cut a car from the Adirondack so people don't have to transfer? The Cardinal used to have 5 coaches 20 years ago. It typically has three. Should we further reduce it and make it two cars?
 
Don't answer that PhillyAmtrakFan!!! ^_^
 
The bottom line is equipment is not forthcoming.. The Bi-Level order did not come to fruition, the CAF cars are so far behind schedule, it is almost time to start considering VIIIs!! Indeed, Indeed,the equipment that we have is aging and dying.
 
Additional service means additional expenses. Amtrak may receive more funds for improvements but I'll bet a lot of that will be diverted to other projects that will keep things operational. Should the capital expenses associated with through car service at PGH become more important or have a higher priority than the expenses associated with establishing PTC and maintaining existing service to NPN?

NPN service is actually doing quite poorly compared to Norfolk. While Virginia is paying for it the resources can't really be shifted away from Virginia, but shifting resources from it to Norfolk service would be very wise.
 

Should restoration of the Gulf East service becoming a higher priority than protecting the existing route and schedule of the Auto Train?

Auto Train is more profitable than Gulf East. And requires fewer stations. There's a way to determine this stuff...
 

I like political heat because it usually comes with a balance. I KNOW that alarms went off about the NYT district. No one did anything except complain and stall for YEARS. Now, the politicians are grandstanding and want action.  Amtrak put their hand out and said "money where your mouth is." In this case, the currency is operating slots.  NJT and LIRR will no longer be able so avoid cutting the trains. The Sunset Limited was a lightening rod and a whipping post for those who wanted to avoid funding Amtrak. Now, the politicians that want it back can fight their own peers and secure funding for the operation. That means support and hopefully, it will (as PhillyAmtrakFan  loves to point out) not come at the expense of another train.


We need some more political heat for the East Coast - Chicago services, which are the area with the greatest opportunity for profitable expansion of Amtrak. I'm terribly antisocial and bad at political organizing, so I don't know how to get the right coalition together for this.

There's been too much focus on geographical expansion among railway advocates, particularly in the so-called "long distance" arena. Train services thrive on volume. We need a focus on and advocacy for *more reliablity*, *higher speed*, and *greater frequency*, because if you've got enough riders, two-a-day trains normally are significantly more profitable / less loss-making than one-a-day trains.

The Pittsburgh situation is simply a screw-up, financially speaking. An error. It wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't (a) a middle-of-the-night transfer, with (b) a miserable station.

 

The NPN morning train is outdoing the NFK morning train.  NPN's results are sandbagged by the fact that we've got an overnight train running out of here that has a whopping eighteen seats that are fit for overnight travel and no sleepers, meaning that the train runs short and tends to empty out pretty well at WAS.  It didn't get the name the "Soreliner" for no reason...

If you want more evidence of this, NPN+WBG gives somewhere just under 170k pax (down from close to 200k before Norfolk got service).  NFK had just under 45k pax each in FY15 and FY16).

Norfolk is sandbagged by a few problems.  One is a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't schedule: If they leave at 0500 they get a good-sized slug of military traffic which can go to DC for a late morning meeting, but they give up tourist traffic.  If they leave later they can gain the tourist traffic but they lose the military traffic.  Another is lousy transit connections (the station is served by The Tide...presuming The Tide is running when the train arrives/departs) and a third is an inability to tap into downtown-to-downtown traffic to Richmond.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#23 Anderson

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Posted 08 May 2017 - 02:28 AM

 

The first big step is more equipment (and that's not even getting to host railroad negotiation). The equipment is the reason for my desire to shuffle the deck or cannibalize as you've described it.

First big step is more single-level equipment:

Enuff Viewliner II sleepers and bag-dorms to

 

a) add one more to each of the LD trainsets already scheduled to get one more sleeper from the current order,

 

b) to help make another set (as seems to be required) to take the Cardinal daily,

 

c) to replace the three sets of Superliner bi-level equipment used

on the Capitol Ltd (thereby freeing up those cars to be put to use on the Western trains),

 

d) to replace the sets of Superliner bi-level equipment now used on the City of New Orleans and its coming Gulf Coast extension New Orleans-Orlando (freeing up even more cars for use out West), and

 

f) to use on expansion, including but not limited to,

  i)  the Crescent split Meridian-Jackson-Shreveport-Dallas-Ft Worth,

  ii) a Cardinal split at Cincinnati or Indianapolis to St Louis-Kansas City,

possibly on to Omaha-CHI, or simply to CHI. (The segment Kansas City-Omaha would be new, connecting the California Zephyr at Omaha with the Southwest Chief and Missouri's River Runners Kansas City-St Louis. I'm taking the train back to CHI so it can get maintenance. If not going to Omaha, the segment Kansas City-CHI would add a second frequency to the popular route between those city pairs, in effect beginning corridor service there.)

 iii) One or more trains CHI-NEC, to the extent slots can be found on the crowded freight routes.

 

Let's order plenty Viewliner IIs while the iron is hot. If the production line shuts down and the painfully trained labor force is dissipated, any follow-up order coming 2 or 3 years later will surely be more costly per unit, and very problematic in other ways as well.

 

Second big step is even more single-level equipment:

Enuff coaches and lounges, many hundreds of them, to

 

  a) replace all the cars on the Regionals,

      i) including the Amtrak Virginia routes and

      ii) New Haven-Springfield-Worcester-Boston

 

  b) add another coach to every train set of the six single-level LD trains,

 

  c) maybe add still another coach to every LD trainset,

 

  d) add a coach to every corridor train where feasible,

     i) the Downeaster

    ii) the Vermonter

    III) the Ethan Allen

    iv) the Adirondack

     v) the Maple Leaf

     vi) the Empire Service NYC-Albany-Buffalo/Niagara Falls

     vii) the Pennsylvanian

    viii) the Keystones

     ix) the Hoosier State, as a second frequency CHI-Indy, or better CHI-Indy-Cincy after the Cardinal goes daily (could use bi-level cars, whichever are available).

      x) the Carolinian (up to NC to decide)

 

  e) train sets for potential new corridors and extensions, e.g.

       i) St Albans-Montreal

       ii) Rutland-Burlington, VT

       iii) NYC-Scranton-(later Birmingham/Elmira-Syracuse)

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Richmond-Petersburg-(restored S line)-Raleigh

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Bristol, VA/TN

       v) Bristol-Knoxville-Chattanooga

       vi) Chattanooga-Huntsville-Birmingham-Montgomery-Dalton,AL-Tallahassee-Jacksonville-Orlando and/or Montgomery-Mobile-Biloxi-New Orleans

           (actually one or two new LD routes)

        vii) CHI-Indy-Louisville-Lexington-Knoxville-Chattanooga-plus vi) above

           (actually another one or two new LD routes)

        viii) NEC-DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Charleston-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando (another new LD route)

      

Third big step is to order hundreds of bi-level cars for the Western trains.

Enuff coaches and lounges to replace the aging Superliners and add at least one sleeper and one or two more coaches to every set of trains on the LD routes. Restore the Sacajawea aka North Coast Hiawatha (but forget the Pioneer, it's a sure loser). Revive or create a route St Paul-Sioux Falls, SD-Sioux City, IA-Omaha-Lincoln, NE-St Joseph, MO-Kansas City-Wichita-Oklahoma City-Ft Worth- Austin-San Antonio

 

I could elaborate on the third step, but it's past my bedtime. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

In summary, First, Second, and Third steps are all about getting lots more equipment. More cars, more seats, more riders, more revenues, more network effects, more frequencies, more economies of scale, and so, lower losses. Nothing succeeds like success, and even partial steps -- this is a 10-year plan -- make it easier to get support for the next steps.

 

 

 

The first big step is more equipment (and that's not even getting to host railroad negotiation). The equipment is the reason for my desire to shuffle the deck or cannibalize as you've described it.

First big step is more single-level equipment:

Enuff Viewliner II sleepers and bag-dorms to

 

a) add one more to each of the LD trainsets already scheduled to get one more sleeper from the current order,

 

b) to help make another set (as seems to be required) to take the Cardinal daily,

 

c) to replace the three sets of Superliner bi-level equipment used

on the Capitol Ltd (thereby freeing up those cars to be put to use on the Western trains),

 

d) to replace the sets of Superliner bi-level equipment now used on the City of New Orleans and its coming Gulf Coast extension New Orleans-Orlando (freeing up even more cars for use out West), and

 

f) to use on expansion, including but not limited to,

  i)  the Crescent split Meridian-Jackson-Shreveport-Dallas-Ft Worth,

  ii) a Cardinal split at Cincinnati or Indianapolis to St Louis-Kansas City,

possibly on to Omaha-CHI, or simply to CHI. (The segment Kansas City-Omaha would be new, connecting the California Zephyr at Omaha with the Southwest Chief and Missouri's River Runners Kansas City-St Louis. I'm taking the train back to CHI so it can get maintenance. If not going to Omaha, the segment Kansas City-CHI would add a second frequency to the popular route between those city pairs, in effect beginning corridor service there.)

 iii) One or more trains CHI-NEC, to the extent slots can be found on the crowded freight routes.

 

Let's order plenty Viewliner IIs while the iron is hot. If the production line shuts down and the painfully trained labor force is dissipated, any follow-up order coming 2 or 3 years later will surely be more costly per unit, and very problematic in other ways as well.

 

Second big step is even more single-level equipment:

Enuff coaches and lounges, many hundreds of them, to

 

  a) replace all the cars on the Regionals,

      i) including the Amtrak Virginia routes and

      ii) New Haven-Springfield-Worcester-Boston

 

  b) add another coach to every train set of the six single-level LD trains,

 

  c) maybe add still another coach to every LD trainset,

 

  d) add a coach to every corridor train where feasible,

     i) the Downeaster

    ii) the Vermonter

    III) the Ethan Allen

    iv) the Adirondack

     v) the Maple Leaf

     vi) the Empire Service NYC-Albany-Buffalo/Niagara Falls

     vii) the Pennsylvanian

    viii) the Keystones

     ix) the Hoosier State, as a second frequency CHI-Indy, or better CHI-Indy-Cincy after the Cardinal goes daily (could use bi-level cars, whichever are available).

      x) the Carolinian (up to NC to decide)

 

  e) train sets for potential new corridors and extensions, e.g.

       i) St Albans-Montreal

       ii) Rutland-Burlington, VT

       iii) NYC-Scranton-(later Birmingham/Elmira-Syracuse)

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Richmond-Petersburg-(restored S line)-Raleigh

       iv) NEC-D.C.-Bristol, VA/TN

       v) Bristol-Knoxville-Chattanooga

       vi) Chattanooga-Huntsville-Birmingham-Montgomery-Dalton,AL-Tallahassee-Jacksonville-Orlando and/or Montgomery-Mobile-Biloxi-New Orleans

           (actually one or two new LD routes)

        vii) CHI-Indy-Louisville-Lexington-Knoxville-Chattanooga-plus vi) above

           (actually another one or two new LD routes)

        viii) NEC-DC-Richmond-Raleigh-Charlotte-Columbia-Charleston-Savannah-Jacksonville-Orlando (another new LD route)

      

Third big step is to order hundreds of bi-level cars for the Western trains.

Enuff coaches and lounges to replace the aging Superliners and add at least one sleeper and one or two more coaches to every set of trains on the LD routes. Restore the Sacajawea aka North Coast Hiawatha (but forget the Pioneer, it's a sure loser). Revive or create a route St Paul-Sioux Falls, SD-Sioux City, IA-Omaha-Lincoln, NE-St Joseph, MO-Kansas City-Wichita-Oklahoma City-Ft Worth- Austin-San Antonio

 

I could elaborate on the third step, but it's past my bedtime. Perhaps tomorrow.

 

In summary, First, Second, and Third steps are all about getting lots more equipment. More cars, more seats, more riders, more revenues, more network effects, more frequencies, more economies of scale, and so, lower losses. Nothing succeeds like success, and even partial steps -- this is a 10-year plan -- make it easier to get support for the next steps.

 

TBH what Amtrak should do here is order another hundred (or two hundred) Viewliner shells that they can equip at Beech Grove.  I know the political fallout that will come, but in Amtrak's shoes I believe it would be better to have the equipment (which can then be equipped as a sleeper, or a diner, or a cafe, or a coach) than not.

The other thing that Amtrak probably needs to do is go on a "Single-Level Only" equipment order policy for non-corridor trains going forward.  The Superliners were tactically brilliant, but they've proven to be a major strategic problem.  I believe that no small part of the problem getting the political support needed for a large equipment slug is that to half of the country, that's always "someone else's equipment" (setting aside the Auto Train for VA/FL and Capitol Limited in WV/MD/PA, you effectively have about 18 states that are "single level territory", about 20 states that are "bilevel territory", and then a few (LA, MS, MO, IL, IN, OH, and WI) that are effectively split.  So either you've got to cobble together a massive order for both types of equipment or you've got a political problem.


Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#24 neroden

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 08:32 PM

The NPN morning train is outdoing the NFK morning train.  NPN's results are sandbagged by the fact that we've got an overnight train running out of here that has a whopping eighteen seats that are fit for overnight travel and no sleepers, meaning that the train runs short and tends to empty out pretty well at WAS.  It didn't get the name the "Soreliner" for no reason...

If you want more evidence of this, NPN+WBG gives somewhere just under 170k pax (down from close to 200k before Norfolk got service).  NFK had just under 45k pax each in FY15 and FY16).

Norfolk is sandbagged by a few problems.  One is a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't schedule: If they leave at 0500 they get a good-sized slug of military traffic which can go to DC for a late morning meeting, but they give up tourist traffic.  If they leave later they can gain the tourist traffic but they lose the military traffic.  Another is lousy transit connections (the station is served by The Tide...presuming The Tide is running when the train arrives/departs) and a third is an inability to tap into downtown-to-downtown traffic to Richmond.


Soooo, is there really any reason not to (a) cut the Twilight Shoreliner back to Washington, or at least Richmond, and (b) have TWO morning trains out of Norfolk, the super-early and the later-early?

Yes, I know, equipment shortages, but any *other* reason?
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#25 ainamkartma

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 11:56 AM

 

The NPN morning train is outdoing the NFK morning train.  NPN's results are sandbagged by the fact that we've got an overnight train running out of here that has a whopping eighteen seats that are fit for overnight travel and no sleepers, meaning that the train runs short and tends to empty out pretty well at WAS.  It didn't get the name the "Soreliner" for no reason...

If you want more evidence of this, NPN+WBG gives somewhere just under 170k pax (down from close to 200k before Norfolk got service).  NFK had just under 45k pax each in FY15 and FY16).

Norfolk is sandbagged by a few problems.  One is a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don't schedule: If they leave at 0500 they get a good-sized slug of military traffic which can go to DC for a late morning meeting, but they give up tourist traffic.  If they leave later they can gain the tourist traffic but they lose the military traffic.  Another is lousy transit connections (the station is served by The Tide...presuming The Tide is running when the train arrives/departs) and a third is an inability to tap into downtown-to-downtown traffic to Richmond.


Soooo, is there really any reason not to (a) cut the Twilight Shoreliner back to Washington, or at least Richmond, and (b) have TWO morning trains out of Norfolk, the super-early and the later-early?

Yes, I know, equipment shortages, but any *other* reason?

 

 

OK, so here's a concept: instead of leaving 66/67 sitting idle at Newport News for six hours during the middle of the day, have the train set make a run to Richmond and back.  It would arrive Richmond around 2:00 in the afternoon and leave again for Newport News at about 2:30, after turning around on a wye to be constructed in the open ground just south of the James River.  The nice thing about this schedule is that the new frequency would connect with the Carolinian and the Palmetto in both directions, permitting a reasonably convenient connection to WAS and the NEC.

 

Which is cheaper, a new train set or a new wye?  I honestly have no idea.

 

Ainamkartma



#26 jis

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 01:20 PM

Or just do a push pull by finding a cab car from somewhere. Saves a lot of time and headache. Operate it like the Keystones for the afternoon turn. Just flip a few seats around to go the other way. Even cheaper than a Wye, which by the way is presumably already there anyway, where the Richmond sets are turned.



#27 ainamkartma

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 03:55 PM

Or just do a push pull by finding a cab car from somewhere. Saves a lot of time and headache. Operate it like the Keystones for the afternoon turn. Just flip a few seats around to go the other way. Even cheaper than a Wye, which by the way is presumably already there anyway, where the Richmond sets are turned.

 

OK, now having looked at the Richmond schedule, I feel like a complete doofus.  It appears to be a net source for scheduled trains, or some kind of time-warp discontinuity.  It appears that twelve trains per week arrive there (195 (2), 93 (4), 87 (1), 85 (5)), but thirteen trains per week depart from there (86 (5), 164 (2), 174 (5), 82 (1)).  NPN is the opposite: fifteen scheduled trains arrive there, but only fourteen depart per week.

 

It would appear that each Friday night, a train (either 83 or 95) runs empty from Newport News to Richmond to become Saturday morning's 164 or 82 north from Richmond.  Weird.  Does anyone know why Amtrak would choose to run empty trains around on a regular basis?

 

Seems surprising to me that they don't have a better use for their rolling stock than this.

 

Regarding the wye at Richmond, I couldn't find it on the google.  It could of course be very far away from the station, since the trains have all night long to reverse direction.  In principle, they would have plenty of time to use the wye at either Newport News or Norfolk...

 

Ainamkartma



#28 neroden

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Posted 12 May 2017 - 11:30 PM

I have a strong feeling that an undue amount of Amtrak's operations are driven by inertia and habit. Right down to the Penn-Central-era accounting practices, which are no good for anyone any more but are "the way we've always done it". This business at Newport News is probably more of the same...

Edited by neroden, 12 May 2017 - 11:30 PM.

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#29 Anderson

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 02:17 AM

 

Or just do a push pull by finding a cab car from somewhere. Saves a lot of time and headache. Operate it like the Keystones for the afternoon turn. Just flip a few seats around to go the other way. Even cheaper than a Wye, which by the way is presumably already there anyway, where the Richmond sets are turned.

 

OK, now having looked at the Richmond schedule, I feel like a complete doofus.  It appears to be a net source for scheduled trains, or some kind of time-warp discontinuity.  It appears that twelve trains per week arrive there (195 (2), 93 (4), 87 (1), 85 (5)), but thirteen trains per week depart from there (86 (5), 164 (2), 174 (5), 82 (1)).  NPN is the opposite: fifteen scheduled trains arrive there, but only fourteen depart per week.

 

It would appear that each Friday night, a train (either 83 or 95) runs empty from Newport News to Richmond to become Saturday morning's 164 or 82 north from Richmond.  Weird.  Does anyone know why Amtrak would choose to run empty trains around on a regular basis?

 

Seems surprising to me that they don't have a better use for their rolling stock than this.

 

Regarding the wye at Richmond, I couldn't find it on the google.  It could of course be very far away from the station, since the trains have all night long to reverse direction.  In principle, they would have plenty of time to use the wye at either Newport News or Norfolk...

 

Ainamkartma

 

Yeah, I know what's going on here.  At one point there was train 78 that ran NPN-RVR on Fridays but had negligible traffic since IIRC it arrived at RVR too late to even connect with the Meteor once the Meteor got moved to its present schedule (it might have had some traffic back when the Meteor went through at about 0100).  Per the October 1999 timetable, train 95 (arr NPN 1907) turned as train 78 (dep NPN 2015, arr RVR 2152).  You'd have a three-hour layover but that would definitely be a legal connection (and the 0650 time for the NB Meteor at RVR was also a lot friendlier to a connection out to NPN...three hours beats five and change, and three hours isn't even an insanely long connection time to/from a "thin" connection).

 

When the Meteor got pushed back from leaving NYP at about 1900 to 1415/1515 (it's listed as leaving at 1415 in the November 2004 timetable, but apparently this was a last-minute decision: The Meteor is still positioned in the timetable as if it were leaving NYP at its former time but the time is changed; it moves to its now-familiar 1515 departure in the next timetable...it appears that they roughly swapped the Crescent and the Meteor's times out of NYP while moving the Star later as well...I think this was a "teething issue" after cutting the Palmetto back) this train didn't have much of a purpose.  It's still listed until 2008; the 2009 timetables are oddly lacking in an NEC timetable, and when I get to the 2010 timetable it's gone.

Edit: Also, this whole situation is an artifact of the fact that Amtrak used to have modestly different timetables on Fridays and Sundays (anyone remember when the Pennsylvanian ran on one schedule Monday-Saturday and another one on Sunday?).  A few of those differences date way back while some others were due to trying to do the best they could amid network cuts (if I'm not mistaken, the Pennsylvanian's odd schedule was basically down to "Well, the Pennsylvanian does better on most days but the Three Rivers picks up a lot of traffic on Sunday...so since we've gotta cut 3R, we're going to run the Pennsylvanian on its schedule on Sunday...").


Edited by Anderson, 13 May 2017 - 02:21 AM.

Capitol Limited (7), CA Zephyr (4) Lake Shore Limited (1), Acela (2), NE Regional (2), Sliver Meteor (4)

Upcoming: Silver Meteor (1), Lake Shore Limited (1), SW Chief (2), MO River Runner (1), Texas Eagle (1)

Possibly Upcoming: Either Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (2) or Texas Eagle (1), Capitol Limited (1), Silver Meteor (1)

#30 Thirdrail7

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 11:33 AM

Allow me to intervene here and I will commit to this when I have more time.

 

Neroden, you asked why 67/66 continues to run to NPN. If anyone recalls, I've mentioned that those trains were in extreme danger for various reasons.  Howeve, there are two MAJOR reasons why that train still exists.

 

A major  reason is the state of Virginia WANTS that train to exist. Not only that, they want additional service to NPN as well as NFK. There have been minor changes in the schedules over the last few years. More tweeks and a major overhaul in the timetable are being looked at to optimize service to the regional, particularly with the ROA service almost completed.

 

Now, here is the main reason for 67 remaining as it is, which also ties into train 78 missing from the public timetable. The Peninsula Sub is not multiple tracked, high speed area. CSX has basically made it clear that until certain improvements are made, if you give up the slot...it may not magically reappear when you want it to. If you give up 67's slot, you may not find an adjacent slot. This goes all the way back to LONG Bridge near ALX. if you give up that slot or try to change it, you may not get it back.  That's a heck of risk until you have all of your ducks in a row.  It is also a heck of a risk since the line is well used.  With work currently in progress to alter the Tidewater service, everyone is wary that once the change is made, there may be no going back.

 

What does have to do with 78? Currently, 95 turns for 78 and deadheads back to RVR.  It is still scheduled as train 78in the employee timetable. The reason it is no longer in the public timetable is it had low ridership. However, it was scheduled train. If it didn't run or was heavily delayed for some reason, alternate transportation had to be arranged. As a non revenue train, you can run it as needed. It retains its schedule train 78 number as an operation profile so CSX has to run it. Otherwise, it would be extra service and CSX could refuse to run it or say we'll get to it when we get to it." As long as it is properly positioned and ready to depart, CSX has to run train 78 as a scheduled train according to the operating agreement.


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


#31 neroden

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 12:34 PM

Allow me to intervene here and I will commit to this when I have more time.
 
Neroden, you asked why 67/66 continues to run to NPN. If anyone recalls, I've mentioned that those trains were in extreme danger for various reasons.  Howeve, there are two MAJOR reasons why that train still exists.
 
A major  reason is the state of Virginia WANTS that train to exist. Not only that, they want additional service to NPN as well as NFK. There have been minor changes in the schedules over the last few years. More tweeks and a major overhaul in the timetable are being looked at to optimize service to the regional, particularly with the ROA service almost completed.
 
Now, here is the main reason for 67 remaining as it is, which also ties into train 78 missing from the public timetable. The Peninsula Sub is not multiple tracked, high speed area. CSX has basically made it clear that until certain improvements are made, if you give up the slot...it may not magically reappear when you want it to. If you give up 67's slot, you may not find an adjacent slot. This goes all the way back to LONG Bridge near ALX. if you give up that slot or try to change it, you may not get it back.  That's a heck of risk until you have all of your ducks in a row.  It is also a heck of a risk since the line is well used.  With work currently in progress to alter the Tidewater service, everyone is wary that once the change is made, there may be no going back.
 
What does have to do with 78? Currently, 95 turns for 78 and deadheads back to RVR.  It is still scheduled as train 78in the employee timetable. The reason it is no longer in the public timetable is it had low ridership. However, it was scheduled train. If it didn't run or was heavily delayed for some reason, alternate transportation had to be arranged. As a non revenue train, you can run it as needed. It retains its schedule train 78 number as an operation profile so CSX has to run it. Otherwise, it would be extra service and CSX could refuse to run it or say we'll get to it when we get to it." As long as it is properly positioned and ready to depart, CSX has to run train 78 as a scheduled train according to the operating agreement.

Informative. Also disgusting on the part of CSX.

Time to buy the Long Bridge. Sadly, Virginia's then-incompetent government, which used to own enough of the RF&P to throw its weight around, sold it to CSX for much less than it was worth some years back.

This all gets back to the essential inappropriateness of having important national infrastructure owned by short-sighted private companies. Not that short-sighted state governments are any better, as we saw in Virginia. Perhaps a charitable foundation devoted to railroad service would be the best option.

Edited by neroden, 13 May 2017 - 12:35 PM.

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#32 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 07:05 PM

Anderson  08 May 2017 - 03:28 AM                                                         #23
(Sorry I lost the connection.  -- Woody)

 

 

The first big step is more equipment

First big step is more single-level equipment.

 

Second big step is even more single-level equipment:      

      

Third big step is to order hundreds of [bi-level] cars for the Western trains.

 

In summary, First, Second, and Third steps are all about getting lots more equipment. More cars, more seats, more riders, more revenues, more network effects, more frequencies, more economies of scale, and so, lower losses. Nothing succeeds like success, and even partial steps -- this is a 10-year plan -- make it easier to get support for the next steps.

TBH what Amtrak should do here is order another hundred (or two hundred) Viewliner shells that they can equip at Beech Grove.

 

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

 

WoodyinNYC says:

 

Maybe a deal like this could get Amtrak the cars it needs. Just sayin'.

 

As reported in a paragraph in Railway Gazette,

 

http://www.railwayga...-agreement.html

Industrial Development & Renovation Organisation of Iran and Russian rolling stock manufacturing group Transmashholding have signed a joint venture agreement to co-operate in the financing and manufacturing of 500 coaches in Iran.

Edited by WoodyinNYC, 13 May 2017 - 07:07 PM.


#33 Carolina Special

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 07:34 PM

Iran building passenger cars for the Great Satan? Sounds like a great plot for a terrorist novel when all the cars blow up at one time! :)

Edited by Carolina Special, 13 May 2017 - 07:34 PM.


#34 jis

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Posted 13 May 2017 - 08:29 PM

Iran has been an active rail equipment exporter to several countries in Asia and Africa in the last ten years or so. This is just another project to do technology transfer for manufacturing passenger cars. They have been more into freight cars in the past, though they did export some passenger cars too several years back as I recall.




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