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
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.