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When it comes to growing Amtrak, what service expansion(s) do you view


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#41 railiner

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 01:31 PM

 

I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but I think expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier State. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

Here ya go:

 

http://www.in.gov/in...alysis_2013.pdf

 

It's been studied. Needs maybe $250 million investment to cut 29 minutes from the schedule, and then modest subsidies like every other corridor service. (More money could buy more time savings, thru CREATE, on the Illinois side of the state line.)

 

The study ain't great but it has good info. Conspicuously omitted is any mention, ridership or revenue, of how chopping 29 minutes off the run could help the Cardinal's bottom line. Or any mention of the benefit to the Cardinal of being part of a corridor service with multiple frequencies.

 

iirc About 10 or 12 year ago, Illinois paid to add two more Lincoln Service frequencies St Louis-CHI to the existing two corridor trains and the Texas Eagle on that route. So it went from three trains a day to five. Total ridership more than doubled in a year or two, and ridership improved even on the Eagle. The convenience of multiple departure and arrival times attracted more passengers to the Eagle than were lost to the other trains. We could expect a similar result for the Cardinal on that Indy-CHI segment if it were flanked by two or three or four daily runs of the Hoosier State.

 

A longer term goal would be to upgrade the tracks Cincinnati-Indianapolis-CHI to 110-mph as is being done St Louis-CHI. There is easily an hour and probably two hours or more to be chopped from the Cincy-Indy segment. Corridor service here would give Cincy daylight service and increase connecting traffic for Amtrak thru CHI. It could also boost the Cardinal ridership despite it still having at least one post-midnight stop in Cincy, because the train would arrive in CHI early morning in time for a full business day.

 

So we need a few Billion to upgrade the route Cincy-Indy-CHI and a Billion or more for additional equipment for these and other added trains. Let's hope the funding is included in the next Stimulus package.

 

What was it Everett Dirksen said?    :P

 

everettdirksen1-2x.jpg


Edited by railiner, 17 December 2017 - 01:32 PM.

metroblue?

okay on the blue!

#42 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 03:18 PM

Eh.

If your loyalty is to price alone, then your loyalty can be sought for a dime.


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#43 WoodyinNYC

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 06:32 PM

 

 

I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier State. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

Here ya go:

 

http://www.in.gov/in...alysis_2013.pdf

 

It's been studied. Needs maybe $250 million investment to cut 29 minutes from the schedule, and then modest subsidies like every other corridor service. (More money could buy more time savings, thru CREATE, on the Illinois side of the state line.)

 

The study ain't great but it has good info.

 

Conspicuously omitted is any mention, ridership or revenue, of how chopping 29 minutes off the run could help the Cardinal's bottom line. Or any mention of the benefit to the Cardinal of being part of a corridor service with multiple frequencies.

 

iirc About 10 or 12 year ago, Illinois paid to add two more Lincoln Service frequencies St Louis-CHI to the existing two corridor trains and the Texas Eagle on that route. So it went from three trains a day to five. Total ridership more than doubled in a year or two, and ridership improved even on the Eagle. The convenience of multiple departure and arrival times attracted more passengers to the Eagle than were lost to the other trains. We could expect a similar result for the Cardinal on that Indy-CHI segment if it were flanked by two or three or four daily runs of the Hoosier State.

 

A longer term goal would be to upgrade the tracks Cincinnati-Indianapolis-CHI to 110-mph as is being done St Louis-CHI. There is easily an hour and probably two hours or more to be chopped from the Cincy-Indy segment. Corridor service here would give Cincy daylight service and increase connecting traffic for Amtrak thru CHI. It could also boost the Cardinal ridership despite it still having at least one post-midnight stop in Cincy, because the train would arrive in CHI early morning in time for a full business day.

 

So we need a few Billion to upgrade the route Cincy-Indy-CHI and a Billion or more for additional equipment for these and other added trains. Let's hope the funding is included in the next Stimulus package.

 

What was it Everett Dirksen said?    :P

 

everettdirksen1-2x.jpg

 

I was thinking what Ronald Reagan said, "Mr Russian President, Tear down this wall."  Or don't build one.

 

For the estimated $20 or $30 Billion to erect Hadrian's Wall, or the Maginot Line, or Trump's Folly on the Mexican border, we could have dedicated passenger-only tracks CHI-TOL-CLE-PGH-PHL, or instead CHI-IND-CIN-Charleston-Charlottesville-DC-PHL-NYC, or maybe both.

 

Or if the don't-waste-on-a-wall money isn't enuff, we could raise taxes on corporations and the super rich.



#44 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 17 December 2017 - 07:41 PM

I would say your comment is entirely political and entirely irrelevant to trains. Not arguing it one way or the other, but I suggest someone take it down before World Amtrak Forum War III begins.


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#45 Tarm

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 07:03 AM

A one cent per gallon national gasoline tax would generate a billion dollars a year. That money would fund a lot of passenger rail infrastructure projects over time.



#46 ainamkartma

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 10:11 AM

A one cent per gallon national gasoline tax would generate a billion dollars a year. That money would fund a lot of passenger rail infrastructure projects over time.

 

And if we all put a penny on the tracks every day we could solve the world's belt buckle shortage!



#47 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 11:46 AM

If we all put a penny on the tracks, that would destroy three million dollars worth of wealth for no apparent purpose.

I’ve never been a fan of the AmPenny, I’m a much bigger fan of the AmDime.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#48 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 05:16 PM

I'd want to know specifically where the money was going to. If to the right places, I'd contribute more than a penny. If to the wrong places, no way.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore 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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
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#49 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 21 December 2017 - 09:17 PM

Its going mostly to graft. Thats where most money goes, regrettably. If you get hung up on that stuff, you will fail to get anything done. If you protest too loud, you will be silenced. Possibly permanently.


Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#50 Tarm

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 09:02 AM

A common complaint on this site is "If the federal government stopped wasting money on (________) there would be more resources for passenger rail. Translation: Take money away from someone else and spend it on something that benefits ME. So boys and girls let us say that the administration get serious about transportation infrastructure and decides to increase the gas tax to fund it. And lo and behold to make it a bipartisan proposal they agree to take one cent per gallon and spend it on passenger rail upgrades. If you were the transportation secretary how would you allocate a billion dollars a year for passenger rail infrastructure?

Finish PTC?

South of the Lake?

New rolling stock?

Corridor track upgrades?

Create in Chicago?

 

This is a discussion forum, let's discuss.   



#51 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 09:44 AM

Just a billion a year?

First, id Bring the NEC up to a state of good repair, and upon completion set aside a quarter of those funds to keep it that way.

Second, Id contract with Siemens/Alstom to replace the P42s, then the entire LD fleet over a five year plan with 175% capacity Viaggio Comfort cars. Then Id do the same for the NEC corridor fleet.

By that time, Id guess the cost of maintaining all of that stuff in good repair would assume most of the rest of the $750 million, and what didnt Id set aside to prepare for the replacement of the 15 year old By that point P42 replacement fleet.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#52 keelhauled

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 10:17 AM

At a billion a year it'd probably take several decades to bring the NEC into good repair...

We are stuck with technology when what we really want is just stuff that works.


#53 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 01:15 PM

That depends on your definition of good repair, really.

But my main point is the $3 a year or so per taxpayer that kind of thing does doe not actually provide enough money for doing anything.

Edited by Green Maned Lion, 22 December 2017 - 01:16 PM.

Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
Most important: Keep it Simple, Stupid!
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#54 Philly Amtrak Fan

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 02:39 PM

Hence it doesn't fit the definition of low hanging fruit. I guess the question is what is out there where will significantly improve Amtrak. We just recently added service to Roanoke. But unless you live in or have a desire to go to Roanoke does that really improve Amtrak as a whole? No.


Trains Traveled: Broadway Limited (CHI-Harrisburg, PA), Three Rivers (Harrisburg, PA-CHI, Altoona, PA-CHI, PHL-CHI), Capitol Limited (CHI-WAS), Lake Shore 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), Texas Eagle (CHI-DAL)
Bring back the Broadway Limited (or Three Rivers or any Chicago-Pittsburgh-Philly train)!
 
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#55 west point

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:15 PM

The obvious 1st item is more passenger cars.  Somehow speed up CAF deliveries and probably get coaches from Siemens ?  Why ?  The Cascades accident has Amtrak disclosing it is short of equipment and is having trouble getting cars to cover Cascades.  After Jan 6th they probably can find some spare equipment but not Superliner coaches assigned to Denver ski train service.

Now state of good repair.  For the NEC that would mean the whole route from NYPS - WASH would be able to maintain 160 MPH on all tracks with no slow orders except for curve restrictions.  That would include CAT, Tunnels, Bridges, & most importantly class 9 tracks.   Stations would be a secondary item.



#56 Green Maned Lion

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Posted 22 December 2017 - 08:56 PM

That is not a state of good repair, that is a massive upgrade.
Travelled: Broadway Limited (1), Lake Shore Limited (6), Capitol Limited (7), Empire Builder (1), Southwest Chief (2), Sunset Limited (1), California Zephyr (3), Coast Starlight (2), Silver Meteor (5), Silver Star (5), Silver Palm (2), Crescent (1), Cardinal (4), Auto Train (4), Pennsylvanian (2), Palmetto (1), Acela Express (1), Empire Service (1), Northeast Regional (11), Keystone Service (1) --- Total Miles: 50,144 --- Total Trains: 61
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#57 Anderson

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Posted 25 December 2017 - 05:24 PM

Given $1bn/yr for Amtrak, I'd probably put 2/3 towards SOGR on the NEC and 1/3 towards equipment orders ($300-350m/yr should support some decent equipment orders).  I'd probably be hoping to get a few major bottlenecks cleared (those in the c. 2008 reports come to mind), but some projects such as Gateway would still need external support and cooperation.


Amtrak mileage to date: Somewhere between 120,000 and 150,000 miles...I /really/ need to run all of my trips through a calculator sometime.

...and no, I am not /that/ Anderson...;-)


#58 neroden

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Posted 03 January 2018 - 02:13 PM

Hmm. 

 

I guess right now I'd start by ordering a large single-level coach / business-class / cafe / (?cab) order, and getting a design which doesn't have the stupid freezing / snow problems.  This is becoming the biggest risk to Amtrak.

 

I'd follow that up with long-distance Siemens Chargers.

 

Then, South of the Lake.  Eliminate the biggest bottleneck under freight operator control, and create the conditions to generate political support in Michigan, Indiana, Ohio, and western Pennsylvania, as well as improving the synergies between the NEC and the Chicago Hub.

 

Then perhaps the Gateway tunnels, which are mostly for the benefit of NJT.


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#59 AmtrakWPK

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:58 AM

Restore the Sunset Limited to Orlando. They truncated it because of Hurricane damaged track, which CSX repaired VERY quickly, but they never restored Sunset service to Orlando. Sunset Limited was ALWAYS supposed to be Transcontinental, and it WAS until then. You might be tempted to say "Just run it to JAX", but the reason for running it all the way to ORL is that they overnighted it at Sanford, at Auto-Train, since both Trains use Superliner equipment, and Sanford can do cleaning and maintenance, and there's a Y just South of ORL to turn the Train around. Worked fine. We rode that a bunch of times.



#60 Anthony V

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Posted 19 January 2018 - 01:29 PM

Restore the Sunset Limited to Orlando. They truncated it because of Hurricane damaged track, which CSX repaired VERY quickly, but they never restored Sunset service to Orlando. Sunset Limited was ALWAYS supposed to be Transcontinental, and it WAS until then. You might be tempted to say "Just run it to JAX", but the reason for running it all the way to ORL is that they overnighted it at Sanford, at Auto-Train, since both Trains use Superliner equipment, and Sanford can do cleaning and maintenance, and there's a Y just South of ORL to turn the Train around. Worked fine. We rode that a bunch of times.

While that idea looks great on paper, it is a terrible idea operationally. The train's on-time performance suffered greatly when it ran to Orlando. The train was even as much as a day late at times. That's a major reason why ridership dropped every year after the run's first year. The Gulf Coast passenger rail study says that the better option for restoring Gulf Coast service is to extend the CONO to Orlando. That would be a shorter overall route than a transcontinental SL, and thus have much better OTP. In addition, it would create the Chicago-Florida route everyone on this forum has wanted ever since the Floridian's discontinuance in 1979.






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