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How Amtrak Could Have Saved Columbus, OH Train Service


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#1 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 01:46 PM

I seem to dwell in the past and I'm sure most of you ask why. We've often as a group discussed both old routes (Amtrak and pre-Amtrak) and routes for expanding the Amtrak route map. In the old days many of the most populous cities that do not have Amtrak service did in the past (either before and/or during Amtrak's history). It seems ironic that Louisville and Nashville have no train service between the cities when they were the origin of the L&N.
 
Any ability to go back to the old routes is in many cases hampered by the absence/abandonment or poor conditions of the railroads or re-negotiating with the host railroads for those that do exist. In reality many of these routes should have never been canceled in the first place and Amtrak would be running on some of them today if they never canceled them. Decisions that were made in the past hurt us (or some of us at least) today. It was a lot easier to keep old trains than re-start them (or introduce new ones) over 40 years later.
 
Some of you are saying no trains should have been canceled but financially that would have been very expensive. In my opinion if trains don't carry many passengers and cost too much they should be canceled. I don't think every train should make money or break even but if a train has low ridership/revenue it contributes almost nothing to Amtrak as opposed to a LSL or SM which still loses money (at least that's what Amtrak tells us) it should be canceled so the money/equipment can be freed up to more "successful" routes. The question is "choosing" (I know, dirty word) which routes should have been kept and which shouldn't have based on the limited budget assumption. If "we" don't learn from the past we are doomed to repeat it.
 
I don't know about other routes but my plan would've kept Columbus, OH as an Amtrak city and assuming we could run the trains on this plan daily than daily service in CIN rather than 3x/week.
 
Let's go way back before A-Day (before I was born). Before then, there was a Cincinnati Limited: http://www.american-...m/cinn-ltd.html. In the end, it was simply an old Northeast-St. Louis train split at Columbus: http://www.thejoekor...e/prr677-11.jpg . The schedule said it was 124.9 miles (I'll round to 125 for the purposes of this plan) and took around 3 hours.
 
After A-Day, according to the first ever timetable posted, the Spirit of St. Louis (eventually NL) was kept along with the James Whitcomb Riley between Chicago and Cincinnati.
 
 
So what if Amtrak had kept the Columbus-CIN portion of the SoSL? 
 
You would have:
BL: NYP-PHL or WAS-BAL to HAR-PGH-CHI
SoSL/Cincinnati Limited: NYP-PHL or WAS-BAL to HAR-PGH-Columbus to IND-STL-KCY or CIN
James Whitcomb Riley: CIN-IND-CHI 
 
Then Cincinnati would have a train to Chicago (JWR) and one to PGH-PHL-NYP (Cincinnati Limited/SoSL). If the westbound SoSL arrived in Columbus at 6:25am with a split in Columbus it arrives in CIN around 10am. If the eastbound SoSL left Columbus at 8:45pm you'd have to leave CIN around 5pm. That would give you roughly 4:55pm (North Phila 6:21pm)-10am next day from NYP to CIN (roughly 17 hours) and 5pm-(North Phila 8:21am) 9:50am next day from CIN to NYP, roughly 17 hours in both directions. 
 
You only add would be the 125 train miles between Columbus and CIN to the currently running BL and SoSL. Not only would Cincinnati have a train to Columbus but to PGH (neither route exists today). Ideally there would be CIN-CLE but I believe there was no CIN-CLE train at A-Day, the Ohio State Limited was discontinued by then: https://csanders429....-long-distance/
 
Then in 1979 if Amtrak had canceled the SoSL/NL (which they did) then the Cincinnati Limited could have been hooked up to the JWR to make a new Cincinnati Limited (CincyL) CHI-CIN-Columbus-PGH to (eventually) PHL to NYP or PHL-BAL-WAS. By then the JWR/Cardinal no longer served IND and later the split between the NYP and WAS legs was at 30th St. Station). You would lose service from Columbus-IND to STL-KCY and Columbus-IND (STL-KCY was later handled by Missouri) and IND would essentially lose all service (they did anyway after the NL got discontinued and they did get it back later on).
 
That gives you:
BL: NYP-PHL or WAS-BAL to HAR-PGH-CHI (later NYP or WAS-BAL to PHL-HAR-PGH-CHI)
Cincinnati Limited: NYP-PHL or WAS-BAL to HAR-PGH-Columbus-CIN-IND-CHI
 
You could actually combine the BL and Cincinnati Limited at PGH with the BL going north to CHI and the CincyL going to Columbus-CIN-CHI (eventually IND). Nobody would take the CincyL from the NEC (or PGH) to CHI since the BL would get to CHI way faster. But this keeps the CIN route to the NEC and gives Columbus a train to both the NEC and to CHI (dipping south to CIN first and then back up but still better than what they have now). 
 
In terms of route miles using, you would have:
 
BL 1981: 909 miles from NYP-PHL-CHI plus 134 from WAS-BAL-PHL: http://www.timetable...10426&item=0036
 
CincyL: 
NL 1976: 190 miles PGH-Columbus: http://www.timetable...60615&item=0038
 
Cincinnati Limited 1967 Penn Central 125 miles Columbus-CIN: http://www.thejoekor...e/prr677-11.jpg
 
JWR 1976: 285 miles from CIN-CHI: http://www.timetable...60615&item=0040
 
That's a total of 1643 miles between the BL and CincyL. Compared to A-Day, you would have cut about 700 miles from Columbus-KCY but still have the 125 proposed from Columbus-CHI so a savings of 475 miles (assume BL and JWR mileages stay the same).
 
In terms of time, that would be 5 hrs PGH-Columbus, 3 hrs Columbus-CIN, and 8 hrs CIN-CHI (total of 16 hrs between PGH and CHI while the BL only took 10 hrs between the two (I will assume the BL would be going via TOL-CLE). So if the trains split at PGH the CincyL would arrive into CHI about 6 hrs after the BL. Assuming the 1981 BL schedule (a midnight westbound departure from PGH, and a 7am eastbound arrival into PGH), you are looking at westbound 5am in Columbus, 8am in Cincinnati, and 4pm to Chicago and eastbound 3pm from CHI, 11pm in Cincinnati, and 2am in Columbus. This would take out any transfers to western trains but would result in better times for sure in CIN (Columbus would be bad but bad is better than none). You would then arrive in the NEC earlier from Ohio and leave later from the NEC. Assuming the LSL stays as is, you would have three trains from CHI to/from the NEC with the LSL to BOS/NYP and the BL/CincyL to PHL and NYP and BAL-WAS. You would still have Amtrak in Columbus. Cincinnati would have daily service and outside the graveyard shift service in both directions. The cities between PGH and PHL would have a direct train to CHI and the cities between PHL and NYP would have a faster direct train to CHI. In addition, my plan keeps the CHI-BAL connection off the BL/CincyL. In fact, you could've extended the BAL-WAS leg of the BL south to CVS or RVR (who has no direct service to CHI either) and if you're really ambitious to Florida (this is not unprecedented as the CL and SS shared through cars at WAS). To me it sounds like a good plan.
 
So what went wrong? You all know the answer.
 
On A-Day instead of just adding the 125 miles between CIN and Columbus, Amtrak/Congress insisted on running a train from Norfolk/Newport News and WAS to CIN (two separate legs) and 655 miles from Newport News and CIN and 115 miles from WAS to CVS where the Newport News and WAS legs combined for a total of 780 miles. At the time WAS could take the BL to/from CHI so they really didn't need another train between the cities.
 
Then like my plan Amtrak cut the NL. But unlike Amtrak, they took the BL (currently running CHI-PGH-PHL to NYP and BAL/WAS) and split it at PGH instead. So BAL (and WIL) lost their direct train to CHI although PA-NJ still kept theirs. I think you can guess why that change was made. Even if Amtrak wanted to use the PGH-WAS route (which I think was/is useless except to save a few hrs between the cities and a mistake as well) they could have still ran a train from CHI-IND-Columbus-PGH along the old NL route and then PGH-WAS. If they were really braver they could also dip that train into CIN and back up to Columbus (since that route would still exist), keeping the Columbus/CIN to NEC service as in my plan (although Columbus/CIN would only be able to go to WAS after PGH and would have to transfer at WAS to BAL-PHL-NYP). 
 
But Columbus was left out in the cold after the NL was cut. You could argue keeping the Cardinal kept CIN in the Amtrak system but my plan would have kept CIN and Columbus as Amtrak cities without the extra miles between CIN and WAS and a faster train to PHL/NYP (although possibly a bit slower to WAS though) and still would've been daily.
 
Then of course the BL was killed off. They could've kept the BL, rerouting it via TOL-CLE and kept the(assuming it still existed) the BAL-WAS leg of the BL but they didn't. 
 
So instead of a (roughly) 1643 mile map between CHI and NYP/WAS between the BL and CincyL you have a CL and a Cardinal which now combine for 1927 miles, does not include the one seat rides previously mentioned, leaves CIN in the dark (for the purposes of this discussion we will assume the Cardinal is daily), and really leaves Columbus in the dark. 300 saved miles don't seem like a lot but that is about 6 hours of extra labor and wear and tear on equipment each day. In addition, the BL and CincyL share all the train miles between PGH-PHL and NYP or WAS while the CL and Cardinal share no train miles at all. 
 
Do you see a pattern in all of these decisions? Without a shadow of a doubt we know why (and by whom) the decisions were made. Essentially the BL was done in by not one but two West Virginia trains. Is that a coincidence? And there are other "losers" including New Jersey, Baltimore, Cincinnati  and (especially) Columbus whose population increased a lot since 1980 (and has been significantly increasing before then),
 
There is no doubt that more people would have been served by my plan than the "West Virginia first" plan. Instead of a plan that serves more of America you have one that benefits a smaller state and cities at the expense of larger states and cities. You can argue West Virginia needs trains more than PA/OH because they have no other transportation options and this is true to many Amtrak states/cities in the west. But the Cardinal roughly parallels I-64 and both Harpers Ferry and Martinsburg are on the MARC Brunswick line. It isn't a matter of who "needs" it more in this case, it's who bullied Amtrak and got his way. If Congress just let Amtrak decide on route map decisions they would be much better off financially (more population = more riders as well as the economies of scale between PGH and the NEC via PHL). In the case of CHI to the West Coast, the trains have to go through some states (although I will argue there isn't a need for CHI-SEA/PDX but that's a whole other discussion). But only a drunk would drive from CHI or CIN to NYP or PHL through West Virginia as opposed to through PA. Sure, PGH-WAS is quicker via West Virginia but a transportation system shouldn't leave out a major market like Baltimore.
 
Amtrak probably shouldn't have cut any routes from the 70's but IMHO they cut the "wrong" ones.

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 railiner

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Posted 19 May 2017 - 03:11 PM

The simple fact of the matter is... you were just born "too late"... :D
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#3 amtkstn

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Posted 20 May 2017 - 09:13 AM

Sounds like good plans. The hard part is getting the money and the class one railroad to get the track space to run the passenger trains around their money making freight trains. Also Amtrak or the state will need to buy all new rolling stock.



#4 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 08:19 AM

The simple fact of the matter is... you were just born "too late"... :D

 

Cause before "Amtrak" railroad companies didn't have to take crap from Congress and got to run (or not run) the trains they wanted. Of course in the 60's they didn't want to run a lot of trains which hurt a lot of people and Congress had to bail them out. But we now have a system when Congress can decide which trains run and which don't.

 

Sounds like good plans. The hard part is getting the money and the class one railroad to get the track space to run the passenger trains around their money making freight trains. Also Amtrak or the state will need to buy all new rolling stock.

 

Of course in 2017 it would be difficult if not impossible to do so given what you mentioned. The point was "mistakes" were made which shouldn't have been made and correcting the mistakes is almost impossible now. But if we didn't make those mistakes (there was no nepotism involved) this is what we "could" have had.

 

I was thinking if we just decided to cut the Cardinal and keep the National Limited that would have been as unfair to Cincinnati as it was (still is) for Columbus. So I thought of how can we have a system that kept both cities and takes advantage of cities/states with larger population as opposed to smaller populations. On A-Day, if they wanted to help Cincinnati they should have preserved the Cincinnati-Columbus connection even if they kept the WAS-NPN to CIN train (it's 125 miles, how expensive could it be?) That way in 1979 they could have combined the Cardinal west of Cincinnati and the National Limited east of Columbus (with the Cincinnati-Columbus part in the middle) and then cut the rest of the Cardinal and National while making sure neither Columbus nor Cincinnati got left out in the cold (St. Louis and Kansas City would still have Amtrak to/from CHI). Or they could have took their new Capitol Limited and found a way to run CHI-IND-Columbus-PGH and then that worthless stretch between PGH and WAS, preserving NL service between IND and PGH (of course if the Cardinal got canned, CIN still would have lost service).  At that time both the BL and CL both ran through Canton/Ft. Wayne (in fact they ran together for a few years before splitting them).

 

It wasn't a case of just cut these trains and keep others, there's no reason they couldn't have been creative and kept "good" parts of trains while eliminating "bad" parts . In fact the "CL" (don't think the train was named yet) was the western part of the BL from CHI to PGH and the eastern part of the Shenendoah, which used to run from CIN to WAS, from Cumberland to WAS (conveniently passing through WV) so they did think about how to create new trains by keeping parts of some trains and flat out canceling the others: https://www.fra.dot..../details/L04153. Their plans also rerouted the BL via CLE (which probably would've helped the BL's ridership/revenue, but they never did the reroute). In fact the CL got the CLE reroute later on, probably making the CL more popular than the BL (or it wasn't and Congress just kept the CL because it ran through WV).

 

It also doesn't seem coincidental that the National Limited, Floridian, and Lone Star were canceled on the same date in 1979 while the Shenendoah and Cardinal weren't until 1981 and the Cardinal (or as I like to call it, Byrd Crap) was demanded to be brought back by Byrd himself (this is not subject to debate like my other speculations): http://www.nytimes.c...?pagewanted=all. Based upon a report by Congress themselves, the Shenendoah and Cardinal had worse performance than the routes cut in 1979: https://www.fra.dot....details/L16827. Then in 1994 the BL got canned in favor of the CL and Cardinal, both conveniently passing through West Virginia. 

 

West Virginia arguably has gotten preferential treatment in Byrd's tenure in Congress (he was Senate Majority Leader so where he leads the Democrats usually follow) and Pennsylvania and Ohio (along with other areas) got screwed over. Now we're stuck trying to correct the mistakes of the past era and yes it's almost impossible. I don't think there is any way today to run a train between PGH and Columbus and/or Columbus and CIN after not running almost 40 years ago. But the routes shouldn't have cut in the first place, especially to keep Byrd Crap around. Congress should serve (or have served) the interests of America and not the interests of a single senator. 


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 ehbowen

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 10:07 AM

Congress should serve (or have served) the interests of America and not the interests of a single senator.


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#6 railiner

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 10:29 AM

You have to credit WVa Congressman Harley Staggers, as well as Senator Byrd for taking care of his constituents....

 

*

 

As for railroad's getting  "to run (or not run) trains they wanted"....well, not running them was not so easy...they had to petition the ICC or sometimes the state PSC (or similar utilities commission) for permission to take off a train.

It was an expensive and often lengthy legal process that included public hearings, and often as not, was denied.


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#7 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 11:23 AM

 

Congress should serve (or have served) the interests of America and not the interests of a single senator.


Welcome to Reality.

 

 

I do get the reality part. What I don't get is no one else here questions Congress's decisions to save one train vs. another and assume their decisions are the right one or that Byrd Crap was better than the Broadway or Lone Star because Congress said so. It wasn't merit it was by politics and as a "victim" (I'm sure I'm not the only one as Houston was screwed too and other cities like Las Vegas were really screwed). I feel I have a right to express my opinions.

 

I think a few (probably many) think Congress shouldn't have cut any trains whether on A-Day or after which I would believe if we had the money to do so.. I also feel some think that Amtrak is more important to rural areas than urban areas with more transportation options. I accept your opinion, I just disagree with it. But just blindly accepting Congress as being right and knowing which trains are the "best" without personal agendas I'm not going to do. It happened before and if we don't stop it, it will happen again. I'm sure if Byrd were still alive the LSL would have been cut before the CL and Cardinal. He would say "well you can go from CHI-NYP using the Cardinal". Sure, except it would be 6-7 hours longer, just like it is for PHL, BAL, TRE, and Newark now.


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/

 


#8 jis

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 12:15 PM

Philly, have you talked to your Representative in the House and Senators about any of this at any time? Or do you just spend all your time just venting here? Just curious.

Whatever makes you think that no one is bothered by various decisions Congress makes? You seem to be rather disconnected from reality if you truly believe so.

#9 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 12:32 PM

For some reason I can't write below the quote but I can above.

 

I did write an email to Senator Casey who has spoken out in favor of Amtrak. "He" (probably was a staff member) responded about a $1.9 billion subsidy for Amtrak but no mention of restoring the BL/TR.

 

As for no one is bothered, does anyone come out and say "Amtrak should have kept one train over the other"? You mention the phrase "Byrd Crap" here and people want to hunt for you with sticks. It's one thing to say all trains should have been kept but not one train should have been cut so that a train that "serves Columbus" to get back to the original topic, stays.

 

Philly, have you talked to your Representative in the House and Senators about any of this at any time? Or do you just spend all your time just venting here? Just curious.

Whatever makes you think that no one is bothered by various decisions Congress makes? You seem to be rather disconnected from reality if you truly believe so.


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/

 


#10 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 01:05 PM

I feel I have a right to express my opinions.

 

 

But just blindly accepting Congress as being right and knowing which trains are the "best" without personal agendas I'm not going to do. It happened before and if we don't stop it, it will happen again.

You certainly have a right to your opinions, and they are often usefully thought provoking. I do think your obsession with what you see as wrongs, committed 30 years ago or more, that have left us with one surviving weak route in the East, is not helpful to your other arguments.

 

I'll also agree that having Congress cut Amtrak routes is bad policy. And I accept your warning that it could happen again.

 

Whatever could give Congress the idea that cutting any routes would be a good thing? If the Critters decide to cut one, or two, what makes you think they would stop at amputating two routes?

 

I'm strongly against making a nomination for "the one route you could cut", much less two or three nominations. Congress could get on a roll and end up cutting four routes or more.

 

The national system could easily be added to, and greatly improved. But cutting even one or two LD trains would help nothing. That leads me to conclude by passing on a bit of time-worn advice Jimmy Carter's friend famously liked to give him: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

 

Forget Senator Byrd and Congressman Staggers, both dead and gone these many years.

 

Remember the priorities:

1) Order more equipment

a) more single-level equipment,

b) more bi-level equipment, 

c) more locomotives.

2 ) Expand capacity

a) by adding one more sleeper and

b) adding at least one more coach

to each train set where the tickets

could be sold.

3) Encourage more state-supported

corridor service, especially where

they will overlap existing LD trains.

4) Then add one or two new LD routes.

 

No cannibalism (or even just rocking of

the boat or waking of sleeping dogs)

required to fulfill these priorities.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 21 May 2017 - 01:13 PM.


#11 jis

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 01:48 PM

For some reason I can't write below the quote but I can above.
 
I did write an email to Senator Casey who has spoken out in favor of Amtrak. "He" (probably was a staff member) responded about a $1.9 billion subsidy for Amtrak but no mention of restoring the BL/TR.
 
As for no one is bothered, does anyone come out and say "Amtrak should have kept one train over the other"? You mention the phrase "Byrd Crap" here and people want to hunt for you with sticks. It's one thing to say all trains should have been kept but not one train should have been cut so that a train that "serves Columbus" to get back to the original topic, stays.
 

All of that is fine, but it is not clear that your persistent moaning about what happened 30 or more years back is going to help shape anything for the future good or bad. I see an immense amount of motivation and energy wasted for nothing, which is sad. All that you have ever said about future course of action is to cancel some other train which cause me and many others to not take your future views too seriously, which is again a bit of misfortune. But c'est la vie. What it is is what is. :(

Idle name calling, no matter how clever, does not contribute to advancing a reasonable discussion. It can be useful in some cases in a marketing campaign perhaps ;)

Edited by jis, 21 May 2017 - 01:50 PM.


#12 ehbowen

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 06:41 PM

I do get the reality part. What I don't get is no one else here questions Congress's decisions to save one train vs. another and assume their decisions are the right one or that Byrd Crap was better than the Broadway or Lone Star because Congress said so. It wasn't merit it was by politics and as a "victim" (I'm sure I'm not the only one as Houston was screwed too and other cities like Las Vegas were really screwed). I feel I have a right to express my opinions.
 
I think a few (probably many) think Congress shouldn't have cut any trains whether on A-Day or after which I would believe if we had the money to do so.. I also feel some think that Amtrak is more important to rural areas than urban areas with more transportation options. I accept your opinion, I just disagree with it. But just blindly accepting Congress as being right and knowing which trains are the "best" without personal agendas I'm not going to do. It happened before and if we don't stop it, it will happen again. I'm sure if Byrd were still alive the LSL would have been cut before the CL and Cardinal. He would say "well you can go from CHI-NYP using the Cardinal". Sure, except it would be 6-7 hours longer, just like it is for PHL, BAL, TRE, and Newark now.


Oh, don't you go around thinking for even one second that cutting any train, most particularly the Lone Star/Texas Chief which I felt about much as you do about the Broadway, is my opinion. If I told you what I seriously want to see happen, you would call the men in the white coats to come and get me and never let me breathe free air again. But the light version is what I posted on the "Amtrak's Future" board a few weeks back, about restructuring tax and subsidy incentives to make it attractive and profitable to run efficient and timely passenger trains, to the point where railroads who still have some semblance of passenger culture (notably BNSF) would want to start running their own trains and other railroads would consider it worthwhile to call Amtrak and say, "Hey, do you think you could implement a train between Cincinnati and Jacksonville so that we could qualify for those tax incentives? We'll make it worth your while...."


Edited by ehbowen, 21 May 2017 - 06:47 PM.

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Visit Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables from the Streamliner era.


#13 Ryan

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Posted 21 May 2017 - 07:00 PM

Philly, have you talked to your Representative in the House and Senators about any of this at any time? Or do you just spend all your time just venting here? Just curious.

Whatever makes you think that no one is bothered by various decisions Congress makes? You seem to be rather disconnected from reality if you truly believe so.

 
 

I did write an email to Senator Casey who has spoken out in favor of Amtrak. "He" (probably was a staff member) responded about a $1.9 billion subsidy for Amtrak but no mention of restoring the BL/TR.


In other words, "no". You should take 10% of the effort you spend whining here and apply it to something that will actually make things better. It'll be great.
 

As for no one is bothered, does anyone come out and say "Amtrak should have kept one train over the other"? You mention the phrase "Byrd Crap" here and people want to hunt for you with sticks. It's one thing to say all trains should have been kept but not one train should have been cut so that a train that "serves Columbus" to get back to the original topic, stays.


It's because most of us have gotten over that which happened 30 years ago. The Congressmen from the state of WV stood up for the constituents and kept their train. The ones from PA didn't. No amount of complaining here is going to change that, or convince the current crop to stand up for your trains should it come to it. Redirect some of your effort into convincing them they should, and maybe prevent it from happening again.
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#14 Palmetto

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 04:01 PM

^^^ What he said.



#15 railbuck

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Posted 22 May 2017 - 09:23 PM

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Corporation shall provide through rail passenger service between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, via Cincinnati".

 

Technically, a train routed WAS-PGH-CMH-CIN-CHI would have met the letter of the law.  Commercially, it may have been relatively successful.  Politically, though, it would not have flown.

 

Congratulations on finding the loophole 35 years too late.



#16 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 06:16 AM

"Notwithstanding any other provision of law, the Corporation shall provide through rail passenger service between Washington, D.C. and Chicago, via Cincinnati".

 

Technically, a train routed WAS-PGH-CMH-CIN-CHI would have met the letter of the law.  Commercially, it may have been relatively successful.  Politically, though, it would not have flown.

 

Congratulations on finding the loophole 35 years too late.

 

Different era. Today anyone can Google and find articles from the New York Times written 35 years ago. It's probably easier today to find NYT articles from 1982 than for the Philadelphia era to find NYT era in 1982 where they weren't available over the internet and the paper had to physically get there (and can you imagine getting a NYT copy from New York to California back then)?

 

I'm surprised Byrd didn't say what he really meant and said "via West Virginia" as opposed to "via Cincinnati". I find it hard to believe Byrd even cared about Cincinnati as he almost certainly helped push Cincinnati into the graveyard shift to serve West Virginia "at more convenient times", according to All Aboard Ohio: http://allaboardohio...mtrak-cardinal/. Also, they could've just ran daily service along the Cardinal route between CHI and CIN as opposed to between CHI and IND (this was not unprecedented as in the short time the EB had 4x/week service in the 90's the train did run to MSP daily: http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19960414n&item=0034 ). At least

then CIN would have daily service today.

 

Using Cincinnati in the language as opposed to West Virginia was probably was a compromise just like running it 3/week as opposed to daily (the Cardinal WAS daily before it was canceled and then brought back). I'm sure many of you wanting a daily Cardinal classify going back to 3x/week back then was a mistake too and we know you keep harping about making it daily in 2017 (which is like jumping through hoops) when according to most of you it probably should have never not been daily in the first place. If the Cardinal was meant to be a replacement for the Broadway Limited between CHI and PHL-NYP, I'm surprised it didn't go daily back when they canceled the BL. They went from two trains going 1 3/7 times per week to one train 3/7 a week. Wouldn't it make more sense to drop to 1 per week as opposed to 3/7 a week by either keeping the Broadway or making the Cardinal daily. I'm guessing it was just as hard to convince the railroads to switch to daily service back in 1995 as it is now.


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/

 


#17 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 06:23 AM

I'm thinking about my plan and it had not one split but two splits, one at Columbus (one going to CHI via northern Ohio and one going to CHI via CIN/IND) and one at PHL (one going to NJ/NYP and one going to BAL/WAS). Forget about what should have been done for now, would such a setup today be doable if we had the switching capability? The only cases of splits I am aware of involve one branch (LSL, EB, SL/TE). I know a split at either HAR or PHL was common back in the BL/NL era as both split to serve both the New York and Baltimore/Washington era but I can't recall any precedence for splits at both ends.


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/

 


#18 railiner

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 08:10 AM

Prior to Amtrak, there were some trains combining and splitting at each end...
As a matter of fact, the Cardinals's predessor, the C&O George Washington, combined its Washington and Newport News sections at Charlottesville, and split its Cincinnati and Louisville sections at Ashland, IIRC....

And then there was the Union Pacific's so-called "City of Everywhere", which left Chicago, then spit off the City of Denver at North Platte, joined with the City of Kansas City (formerly St.Louis) at Cheyenne, split off its City of Portland at Green River, and split its City of San Francisco and City of Los Angeles at Ogden.....(whew!). :)
metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#19 Metra Electric Rider

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Posted 23 May 2017 - 12:14 PM

 (and can you imagine getting a NYT copy from New York to California back then)?

 


 

 

Don't know about LA or SF but we always had a Chicago edition which had local ads - they wired the content to a local printer who set up the ads (as I understand it). But since the 80's it's always had NYC ads.


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#20 Carolina Special

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Posted 24 May 2017 - 09:23 PM

The Wall Street Journal was available daily at news racks in Columbia, SC in 1981-82 because I started reading it then. I believe the NYT may have also been available, at least at newsstands back then.

It is easier to do research now. Last week I looked online in the 1953 Charleston, SC newspapers for info on my father: much easier than it would have been just a decade or two ago.

Philly, you frequently make good points. But I do agree with the other posters that think you should focus on the here and now, not the past.




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