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Atlanta to Fort Worth new Amtrak Service study


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#21 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 04:30 PM

Two schedules are listed, one is a "day train" between NYP and ATL although the times between NYP and ATL are horrible IMO and without major improvements between WAS and ATL not much hope in making them better, the other is a TE compatible transfer schedule.

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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/

 


#22 Thirdrail7

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 04:41 PM

 

 

 Exercising the option on the Viewliner 2 order would also help.

 

 

As Neroden is fond of pointing out, coaches are a bigger issue. The only bright spot is the ability to use Superliner equipment if this is stand alone service....if some of them are freed up.

 

 

Wait a minute - from where would Superliners be freed up?  

 

Richard Anderson alluded to equipment utilization, but what exactly are we looking at here?    

 

 

 

Let's be honest. If this actually occurs, it will take years to finish. By that time, it is probable the bi-level turned single level cars will be in the picture. That should free up equipment.


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


#23 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 07 September 2017 - 04:54 PM

 

 

 

 Exercising the option on the Viewliner 2 order would also help.

 

 

As Neroden is fond of pointing out, coaches are a bigger issue. The only bright spot is the ability to use Superliner equipment if this is stand alone service....if some of them are freed up.

 

 

Wait a minute - from where would Superliners be freed up?  

 

Richard Anderson alluded to equipment utilization, but what exactly are we looking at here?    

 

 

Let's be honest. If this actually occurs, it will take years to finish. By that time, it is probable the bi-level turned single level cars will be in the picture. That should free up equipment.

 

You could free up more Superliners by discontinuing the Sunset Limited.  It would crush some folks, and some cities would be annoyed they wasted money on a new station or platform that will never see another scheduled passenger train, but out of all the Western trains Amtrak might cut the SL route would probably generate the least amount of blowback. The SL route also seems to receive the least enthusiastic reviews and recommendations here on the forum. It would suck to lose the route forever but maybe that hardware could be used to strengthen another more important route that was in jeopardy.  It may also be possible to use the discontinuation of the Sunset Limited as a bargaining chip to help improve the schedules of one or more other routes that make use of UP tracks.  Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to make the SL a daily operation with improved scheduling I'm all for it, but if that's not possible then perhaps there are other better ways to use it.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 07 September 2017 - 04:58 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#24 cirdan

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 04:59 AM

 

 

 

 

 Exercising the option on the Viewliner 2 order would also help.

 

 

As Neroden is fond of pointing out, coaches are a bigger issue. The only bright spot is the ability to use Superliner equipment if this is stand alone service....if some of them are freed up.

 

 

Wait a minute - from where would Superliners be freed up?  

 

Richard Anderson alluded to equipment utilization, but what exactly are we looking at here?    

 

 

Let's be honest. If this actually occurs, it will take years to finish. By that time, it is probable the bi-level turned single level cars will be in the picture. That should free up equipment.

 

You could free up more Superliners by discontinuing the Sunset Limited.  It would crush some folks, and some cities would be annoyed they wasted money on a new station or platform that will never see another scheduled passenger train, but out of all the Western trains Amtrak might cut the SL route would probably generate the least amount of blowback. The SL route also seems to receive the least enthusiastic reviews and recommendations here on the forum. It would suck to lose the route forever but maybe that hardware could be used to strengthen another more important route that was in jeopardy.  It may also be possible to use the discontinuation of the Sunset Limited as a bargaining chip to help improve the schedules of one or more other routes that make use of UP tracks.  Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to make the SL a daily operation with improved scheduling I'm all for it, but if that's not possible then perhaps there are other better ways to use it.

 

 

Be careful what you wish for as you may get it.

 

Killing the SL would also have repurcussions for the SL-East.  Without any meaningful connections at San Antonio. a residual New Orleans to San Antonio train would make far lesss sense, and the momentum for taking that train to Florida would be crippled. 

 

On the other hand, in absence of a SL, maybe there might be a basis for extening the Texas Eagle toi somewhere like Corpus Christi or even into Mexico.



#25 brianpmcdonnell17

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 08:42 AM

 

 

 

 

 Exercising the option on the Viewliner 2 order would also help.

 
 
As Neroden is fond of pointing out, coaches are a bigger issue. The only bright spot is the ability to use Superliner equipment if this is stand alone service....if some of them are freed up.
 
 
Wait a minute - from where would Superliners be freed up?  
 
Richard Anderson alluded to equipment utilization, but what exactly are we looking at here?    
 
 
Let's be honest. If this actually occurs, it will take years to finish. By that time, it is probable the bi-level turned single level cars will be in the picture. That should free up equipment.
 
You could free up more Superliners by discontinuing the Sunset Limited.  It would crush some folks, and some cities would be annoyed they wasted money on a new station or platform that will never see another scheduled passenger train, but out of all the Western trains Amtrak might cut the SL route would probably generate the least amount of blowback. The SL route also seems to receive the least enthusiastic reviews and recommendations here on the forum. It would suck to lose the route forever but maybe that hardware could be used to strengthen another more important route that was in jeopardy.  It may also be possible to use the discontinuation of the Sunset Limited as a bargaining chip to help improve the schedules of one or more other routes that make use of UP tracks.  Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to make the SL a daily operation with improved scheduling I'm all for it, but if that's not possible then perhaps there are other better ways to use it.
 
 
Be careful what you wish for as you may get it.
 
Killing the SL would also have repurcussions for the SL-East.  Without any meaningful connections at San Antonio. a residual New Orleans to San Antonio train would make far lesss sense, and the momentum for taking that train to Florida would be crippled. 
 
On the other hand, in absence of a SL, maybe there might be a basis for extening the Texas Eagle toi somewhere like Corpus Christi or even into Mexico.
I generally agree with you that the route east of San Antonio is helped by the section west of there, but the SL is essentially irrelevant to the Gulf Coast train as they will be separate from each other without a same-day connection.

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#26 MikefromCrete

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:36 AM

Killing one train to somehow benefit another is not a good strategy. 



#27 jis

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:51 AM

There is zero momentum to take the Sunset to Florida in the real world outside some corners of railfan fantasyland.

#28 GaSteve

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:54 AM

This is just another study that will join the countless dozens of other studies; cash in someone's pockets and nothing else.  10 years from now nothing will have been done.  In my area, at least a dozen studies have been done on extending the Heartland Flyer north and we are no closer to that now then we were about 10 years ago when these studies began.....

Amen



#29 GaSteve

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 09:56 AM

Several options for this service as a phased implementation.

1.   .  Make the train part of Crescent and split train at Meridian.  That would add capacity to the Crescent which is sorely needed ATL <> NEC.  No station work at the present terrible ATL station. 

2.  At same time ( now ) start construction on the Atlanta station with a loop.  Crescent can travel to downtown in 5 minutes each way from Howell.

3.  during station construction get the 2 CSX and 2 ( or 3 ) parallel tracks from Howell to new station considered as one 4 or 5  main track for use by both CSX and NS.  Add a full 4 or 5 track interlocking close to the new station.  That will allow Crescent to avoid the Howell congestion on eastern most track for trains to / from CLT and to / from BHM on western most track.  Station will need a loop for North to North arrivals and departures.  That arrangement will probably have a positive effect for OTP.  CSX and NS freights would also avoid much of the Howell congestion.  Not a final answer but intermin until funds for the necessary flyovers can be built at Howell.

4.  If #1 is very successful  ( 90% chance will )  run the proposed day train NYP or WASH - Richmond- Raleigh - CLT - ATL day train and extend it to FTW.

5. As usual must get the necessary equipment .   

Dream on and hope you live that long,



#30 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 10:11 AM

Killing one train to somehow benefit another is not a good strategy. 

 

It may not be a "good" strategy but it is a necessary one.  Killing one route to save another is part of the process that allows Amtrak to survive today.  If they blindly insisted on keeping every mile of every route open in perpetuity they'd probably be bankrupt by now.


We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#31 Gulfwind2

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 10:53 AM

Killing one train to somehow benefit another is not a good strategy. 

 
It may not be a "good" strategy but it is a necessary one.  Killing one route to save another is part of the process that allows Amtrak to survive today.  If they blindly insisted on keeping every mile of every route open in perpetuity they'd probably be bankrupt by now.

I only wish this were the strategy that America were forced to resort to with regard to redundant freeways and under-utilized airports.

"My heart is warm with friends I make, and better friends I'll not be knowing; Yet there isn't a train I wouldn't take, no matter where it's going."- Edna St Vincent Millay

 

"What's the deal with airline food?"- Jerry Seinfeld

 

Want to solve the problem of passenger trains not having the infrastructure they need?

STEP 1. Let the Class I's pay into a USDOT-managed trust fund through 6.5% of their own revenues in order to construct a right-of-way parallel to the existing Class I right-of-way that can take Amtrak trains off the freight railroad's trackage in busy corridors.

STEP 2. Wait 10 years once enough funds are gathered.

STEP 3. Then watch. Investors are happy, passenger trains no longer have to fight freight for priority, speeds of 125mph + are now possible with no risk of freight collision, freight railroads have higher track capacity than before without having to conduct a single environmental impact study, and AU forums have far less to complain about.

 


#32 John Bredin

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 11:11 AM

This is just another study that will join the countless dozens of other studies; cash in someone's pockets and nothing else.  10 years from now nothing will have been done.  In my area, at least a dozen studies have been done on extending the Heartland Flyer north and we are no closer to that now then we were about 10 years ago when these studies began.....

On the other hand, every improvement to service in recent decades (since environmental impact statements, etc., have been required) has been preceded by a study. A study being done doesn't mean a project will happen, but a study not being done means for certain that a project won't happen. 



#33 A Voice

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 12:32 PM

 

Killing one train to somehow benefit another is not a good strategy. 

 

It may not be a "good" strategy but it is a necessary one.  Killing one route to save another is part of the process that allows Amtrak to survive today.  If they blindly insisted on keeping every mile of every route open in perpetuity they'd probably be bankrupt by now.

 

 

Uh, No; Such a strategy is not and has never been either necessary or advisable. The one "necessary strategy" is that the system be adequately funded (yeah, I know........).

 

Rather, the wholly discredited approach of pitting one route over another (too often, "trains for me but none for thee") has only served to weaken and undermine the rest of the system.  Amtrak survives at the whim of the Congressional budget process, which has never really provided adequate funding to maintain - let alone grow and place on a more sound financial and service-defensible footing - the system.  When the budget isn't adequate something has to give, obviously, but that doesn't make it an effective solution.    Had the Pioneer (among others) survived the fallout of the Mercer groups' half-baked recommendations it would very likely still be with us today.  It's loss (and similar cuts) was not required to support the California Zephyr; On the contrary, it further weakened those other services.  



#34 jis

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 12:59 PM

I agree wholeheartedly with what The Voice says. It is never necessary to kill someone's existing train to give a train to someone else.



#35 Devil's Advocate

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 01:05 PM

Please feel free disentangle Amtrak's current hardware, labor, and funding levels and then redeploy everything in a manner that brings every lost mile back into service without additional funding or stretching your resources beyond the point where Amtrak can work around standard maintenance and interruptions. If I'm wrong about the necessity to cut losses as resources dwindle and political support wanes this should be quite doable. 

 

Just to be clear, I'm not advocating that the Sunset Limited be discontinued just because they can.  Nor am I attempting to claim that Amtrak can simply slash and burn their way to profitability.  Rather, I'm saying the time may come when funding drops below sustainable levels and/or enough rolling stock has been damaged beyond practical repair that something must give.  When that time comes the Sunset Limited would seem to be the least destructive discontinuation to shore up what's left.


Edited by Devil's Advocate, 08 September 2017 - 01:31 PM.

We've got provisions and lots of beer. The key word is survival on the new frontier. 


#36 cirdan

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 02:28 PM

 

This is just another study that will join the countless dozens of other studies; cash in someone's pockets and nothing else.  10 years from now nothing will have been done.  In my area, at least a dozen studies have been done on extending the Heartland Flyer north and we are no closer to that now then we were about 10 years ago when these studies began.....

On the other hand, every improvement to service in recent decades (since environmental impact statements, etc., have been required) has been preceded by a study. A study being done doesn't mean a project will happen, but a study not being done means for certain that a project won't happen. 

 

 

This. Absolutely.



#37 west point

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 05:53 PM

This talk of cancelling some trains is very negative to the remaining operating trains.  You loose all the connecting passengers from still operating trains to cancelled ones.  The least costly solution IMO is the acquisition of approximately 300 - 400 LD passenger cars.  That way all existing trains could have enough capacity to meet demand.  Yes 300 cars will cost about $1.2B b but that amount of funds probably would only upgrade 2 new routes that would not have enough equipment.

 

Many opinions seem to believe that additional capacity will actually lower the losses of current trains. PRIIA reports also seem to put that opinion in the reports.. 



#38 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 08 September 2017 - 07:03 PM

... The least costly solution IMO is the acquisition of approximately 300 - 400 LD passenger cars.  That way all existing trains could have enough capacity to meet demand.

 

Many opinions ... that additional capacity will actually lower the losses of current trains.

I believe that adding a number of new or restored trains would divide the fixed overhead over more train miles, and thus lower the losses of the current trains. Good candidates include the Broadway Ltd, the extended City of New Orleans from NOLA to Orlando, a Crescent split in Alabama to send a stub to Dallas-Fort Worth, a daily Sunset Ltd, a second frequency CHI-Milwaukee-St Paul-St Cloud, and extending one of Illinois' CHI-Carbondale trains down to Memphis.


Edited by WoodyinNYC, 08 September 2017 - 07:15 PM.


#39 dogbert617

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Posted 09 September 2017 - 11:19 PM

 

 

 

 

 Exercising the option on the Viewliner 2 order would also help.

 

 

As Neroden is fond of pointing out, coaches are a bigger issue. The only bright spot is the ability to use Superliner equipment if this is stand alone service....if some of them are freed up.

 

 

Wait a minute - from where would Superliners be freed up?  

 

Richard Anderson alluded to equipment utilization, but what exactly are we looking at here?    

 

 

Let's be honest. If this actually occurs, it will take years to finish. By that time, it is probable the bi-level turned single level cars will be in the picture. That should free up equipment.

 

You could free up more Superliners by discontinuing the Sunset Limited.  It would crush some folks, and some cities would be annoyed they wasted money on a new station or platform that will never see another scheduled passenger train, but out of all the Western trains Amtrak might cut the SL route would probably generate the least amount of blowback. The SL route also seems to receive the least enthusiastic reviews and recommendations here on the forum. It would suck to lose the route forever but maybe that hardware could be used to strengthen another more important route that was in jeopardy.  It may also be possible to use the discontinuation of the Sunset Limited as a bargaining chip to help improve the schedules of one or more other routes that make use of UP tracks.  Don't get me wrong, if it's possible to make the SL a daily operation with improved scheduling I'm all for it, but if that's not possible then perhaps there are other better ways to use it.

 

Nah, I'd rather see Amtrak order brand new railcars(that would kind of be similar to those Superliners) so that Amtrak could expand service, and rehab the existing Superliner railcars to keep those in service a little longer. I absolutely oppose eliminating the New Orleans- Los Angeles Sunset Limited, but that's just me. That said, I won't be surprised if funding isn't available for years to expand it to a daily train, as much as I'd love to see that(and the Cardinal) finally get daily service.

 

 

Killing one train to somehow benefit another is not a good strategy. 

 

Sadly, I have to agree. Maybe it's the elimination of certain trains that makes me worried(i.e. Desert Wind, Pioneer, Floridian, Three Rivers/Broadway Limited, or the Amtrak train that ran between Minneapolis/Twin Cities to Duluth), but once a train is axed from the schedule, it seems very tough for it to ever come back. There still hasn't been any restoration of Amtrak service east of New Orleans, all these years later. Heck I'd be okay, if ALL Amtrak did was to start running a short distance train between New Orleans and Jacksonville. Amtrak is WAY, WAY overdue on restoring service east of New Orleans! Not sure if per federal law, that a New Orleans to Jacksonville train would have to be state supported, or if could be federally funded? Forget the distance, but maybe I'll look later on the Amtrak timetable history website to see what that mileage distance was. Have to finish packing for a 5 day trip I'm doing, so can't look that up now.


Edited by dogbert617, 09 September 2017 - 11:26 PM.


#40 Woodcut60

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Posted 12 September 2017 - 12:57 AM

5.7 million people live in metro Atlanta (9th largest in US) and 7.2 million people live in metro Dallas/Fort Worth (4th largest US). Less than 800 miles separate the city pairs, so it is an acceptable distance for a day time train. There, study complete (besides, haven't there been a few already?). 

 

There have been numerous studies that show passenger expansion in this country is worth the investment, yet nothing ever happens. A few years later, another study is done that shows the same thing. Maybe it's time to study the consulting companies doing these studies, and see who is lining their pockets?

Love this post, and I agree. Also, I would love to ride this train. What would be a nice and appropriate name? The Texas Zephyr?


Amtrak Routes Traveled: Lake Shore Limited, California Zephyr, San Joaquin, Pacific Surfliner, Coast Starlight, Empire Builder, Cardinal, Crescent, Sunset Limited, Southwest Chief, Hiawatha, City of New Orleans, Texas Eagle, Heartland Flyer, Missouri River Runner, Lincoln, Wolverine, Northeast Regional, Acela Express, Downeaster, Vermonter, Silver Star, Silver Meteor, Capitol Limited, Pennsylvanian, Amtrak Cascades.

Other Routes in North America: Denali Star (Alaska Railroad), The Ocean (Halifax, NS-Montréal, QC), Corridor Montréal-Toronto, The Canadian (Toronto, ON-Vancouver, BC).

Amtrak: approx. 25,000 miles and 47 states.

VIA Rail Canada: approx. 4,300 miles and eight provinces.





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