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#61 bretton88

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 03:16 PM



 

 

Denver to Albuquerque is a potential passenger train corridor. I would think there is demand for a few round-trip trains a day between these cities. The two cities are 450 miles apart. A few corridor trains between these cities would increase passenger revenues to cover the fixed costs of the passenger train speed infrasteucure.

New Mexico actually had entered a contract to purchase the entire line up to the Colorado state line with this in mind.  Also, BNSF had made it a condition of buying what New Mexico actually wanted, Belen-Lamy.  The deal was phased, with transfer of ownership Belen-Lamy first.  However, after an administration changed in New Mexico, New Mexico reneged on the deal.  They ultimately settled with BNSF and the rest of the deal died.
 
While Albuquerque is a corridor candidate, in order to get to Denver, a train would have to use the very heavily trafficked Joint Line north of Pueblo, CO.  BNSF is pretty resistant to adding a passenger train to the mix without some major capacity improvement funded by NM/CO .  BNSF would almost require New Mexico and Colorado purchase the Raton line as far as Trinidad.
 
What trip time would one be realistically looking at for a DEN-ABQ trip?
 
Looking back, the Texas Zephyr ran Denver to Trinidad in as little as 4:33, added to the Amtrak Trinidad to Albuquerque fastest time of 5:39 = total of 10 hours and 12 minutes...
I seriously doubt if that Denver to Trinidad time could be duplicated today, however...
 
 http://www.streamlin...phyr196009.html
 
https://www.amtrak.c...dule-031118.pdf

That terribly uncompetitive, even at the old running times (compared to 6.5 hours driving). Under current conditions, my guess is running time would be 12ish hours. That would be a rough corridor train.

If I won the lottery, I'd probably build a passenger from nowhere to nowhere.


#62 RPC

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 06:03 PM

While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. These folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

 

EDIT: Noun-verb agreement!


Edited by RPC, 11 June 2018 - 03:15 PM.


#63 bretton88

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 06:25 PM

While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. This folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

I definitely agree with having a train Pueblo to Denver, possibly even to Ft Collins. That would be wildly popular. It's the extra 6-8 hours to ABQ that is the loser.


If I won the lottery, I'd probably build a passenger from nowhere to nowhere.


#64 ainamkartma

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 08:11 PM

 

While the overall running time may seem uncompetitive, I'd bet there would be significant patronage along the Front Range segment. This folks, especially at the north end, face significant traffic slowdowns.

I definitely agree with having a train Pueblo to Denver, possibly even to Ft Collins. That would be wildly popular. It's the extra 6-8 hours to ABQ that is the loser.

 

 

I agree.  The population density between Trinidad and Santa Fe drops to nil while the grades get big.  A really really bad place to try to implement corridor service.  Now a front range high speed train, on the other hand, would be packed.

 

Ainamkartma



#65 railiner

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Posted 08 June 2018 - 11:25 PM

And instead of going to Albuquerque, perhaps the new route would be better if it went to Amarillo and Fort Worth instead...?


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#66 Palmetto

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 06:08 AM

And instead of going to Albuquerque, perhaps the new route would be better if it went to Amarillo and Fort Worth instead...?

I thought of that, too.  But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad.  Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City.  So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines.  I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.



#67 Chey

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 07:19 PM

I thought of that, too.  But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad.  Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City.  So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines.  I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.


Unless you count the traffic from Lubbock - Texas Tech students have shown much interest in any route that serviced Lubbock-Amarillo-Midland-FTW or DEN_Amarillo - in any combination. Clovis also offers more. FTW-DEN is a wonderful possibility. A close relative who works with BNSF tells me they LOVE all these possibilities. Of course they are not BNSF management but they are union...
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#68 bretton88

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Posted 09 June 2018 - 09:35 PM

 

I thought of that, too.  But again, there isn't much in the way of population between Amarillo and Trinidad.  Another problem is that the BNSF uses directional running between the two cities, like the UP does between KC and Jefferson City.  So one of the Amtrak trains would be running against opposing trains on one of the two lines.  I believe that's still the situation between Jeff City and KC.


Unless you count the traffic from Lubbock - Texas Tech students have shown much interest in any route that serviced Lubbock-Amarillo-Midland-FTW or DEN_Amarillo - in any combination. Clovis also offers more. FTW-DEN is a wonderful possibility. A close relative who works with BNSF tells me they LOVE all these possibilities. Of course they are not BNSF management but they are union...

 

The real problem with serving lubbock is there's then no easy way to get to Fort Worth from there. You could use the UP line from Sweetwater to FTW, but I bet the UP would demand a king's ransom for that. So the easier option that will probably have less ridership is going from Amarillo to FTW completely on BNSF. At 800 miles, it is within the scope of Amtrak to create such a route, but it would be poor for a corridor service, and most likely require sleepers.


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#69 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 12:32 PM

http://trn.trains.co...st-chief-pledge



A Friday news release from the office of Sen. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) said the amendment to the 2019 Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Appropriations bill, offered by Udall and Sen. Jerry Moran (R-Kan.), would “strongly encourage Amtrak to consult with stakeholders before adding conditions to any grant funds.” Amtrak has recently added such conditions to its $3 million pledge to matching funds for a $16 million grant for repair and upgrading of the Chief route


Edited by jis, 11 June 2018 - 12:33 PM.


#70 Lonestar648

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 04:36 PM

Glad to see the Senators getting active in supporting the continuation of the SWC.  I don't see Anderson rerouting this train, just eliminate it to increase the Superliner reserve inventory.



#71 jis

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:16 PM

I don't see Anderson rerouting or eliminating this train. They will figure out a way to keep it running. The big catch right now is New Mexico and Rail Runner's PTC progress. As for between Lamy and La Junta, Amtrak will do its SMS analysis and come to the conclusion that a single train a day each way can be handled safely and that will be the end of that. BY FRA rules that segment is Exempt anyway. If track quality issues develop they will just clobber the schedule in strange ways to accommodate. In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.



#72 railiner

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Posted 11 June 2018 - 05:32 PM

 In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.

I would love to see that happen.  Once some kind of service is established at Pueblo, I believe that would cause strong public pressure for passenger service between there and Denver over the Joint Line.   


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#73 fredmcain

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 06:03 AM

I don't see Anderson rerouting or eliminating this train. They will figure out a way to keep it running. The big catch right now is New Mexico and Rail Runner's PTC progress. As for between Lamy and La Junta, Amtrak will do its SMS analysis and come to the conclusion that a single train a day each way can be handled safely and that will be the end of that. BY FRA rules that segment is Exempt anyway. If track quality issues develop they will just clobber the schedule in strange ways to accommodate. In short SWC is here to stay.

 

Meanwhile work on getting the Pueblo section up and running with Colorado state funding will continue to move forward.

Last summer (2017) we were on the La Junta - Trinidad segment.  I noticed that BNSF was replacing the wayside signals along there with the newer so-called "Darth Vader" type and they were also retiring the open-wire signal code line.  This suggested in my mind's eye that BNSF was prepping this segment for PTC but I don't know that.  We did not go west of Trinidad so I cannot comment on that stretch but I did notice that west of the Trinidad stop I could still see the older AT&SF "searchlight" type signals in use.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain


​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#74 jis

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 09:44 AM

Good point. It is actually Trinidad (actually CP Jensen a bit south of Trinidad) to Lamy that has a single pair of trains per day. So yeah, La Junta to Trinidad is likely getting PTC.



#75 west point

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Posted 12 June 2018 - 07:26 PM

Maybe BNSF wants to replace the code line  ( major expense maintain it )  .  Is it possible that BNSF can reuse recycled old signal system hardware that will work for track code signaling but not PTC ?  Around here PTC requires another bungalow at one end of CPs and 1 or 2 Verizon satellite dishes at every signal  ( CSX ) .



#76 jis

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Posted 13 June 2018 - 05:35 PM

Southwest Chief among the first to get PTC on host railroad. CZ between Chicago and Denver too.

 

https://media.amtrak...trol-milestone/


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#77 fredmcain

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 05:59 AM

Southwest Chief among the first to get PTC on host railroad. CZ between Chicago and Denver too.

 

https://media.amtrak...trol-milestone/

Thanks, JIS.  Yesterday I saw a similar article on my "Progressive Rail" e-mail newsletter.  However, I couldn't see where the Hutchison-Dodge City-Trinidad-Albuquerque segment was mentioned so I wondered if they meant to include that too or what the situation is there.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain


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​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


#78 fredmcain

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 06:35 AM

You know, I’d like to say a few things about the so-called “North Line” through La Junta and Trinidad.  For one thing, I have wondered what, exactly the results would be if the states and Amtrak were to really get this line into a top-notch state of good repair with BOTH PTC and CTC?  Would BNSF then become interested in diverting some through freight onto the line?  I wonder.  That’s kinda sorta what happened in North Dakota on the Devils Lake line.

 

You see, the North Line across southwestern Colorado has ALWAYS been just a tad bit faster than the South Line through Amarillo.  That is partly why the old AT&SF Ry ran most of their crack passenger trains over the line.  This sounds hard to believe from today’s perspective but the fact is that as late as 1966 there were still five daily passenger trains a day (count ‘em FIVE) between Chicago and California.  The Santa Fe ran all but one over the north line with the fifth over the South Line to provide local service to Amarillo. 

 

The North Line has also proven to be faster for freight although only if the trains are relatively short and light.  The Santa Fe’s hot shot “Super C”, which they tried to bill as “The World’s Fastest Freight Train”, used the North Line.  A few intermodal trains were also so diverted in the 1990s owing partly to congestion on the South Line as it was not yet fully double-tracked at that time.

 

So, would they?  Could BNSF possibly consider this?  Not without CTC.  In the era of caboose-less trains, operating on single track lines with hand-thrown switches becomes highly problematic.  I suppose they could run several short, intermodal trains a day in one direction only as they would only have one opposing movement to meet (The Southwest Chief, of course).  But the D.S. could order Amtrak into the hole.  Also there are a couple of short stretches of CTS west of Trinidad and near Springer, NM.

 

One final thought.  This line could’ve been abandoned years ago like the SPT Company’s “South Line” through Douglas, AZ.  But it was actually COAL that helped save the line.  There were at least two, maybe three HUGE coal mines that shipped out unit trains but they closed a number of years ago.  A renaissance is possible but unlikely.  But new BNSF intermodal trains on the line?  Also unlikely but not beyond the realm of possibility - especially with growing traffic.  Time will tell.

 

​Regards,

Fred M. Cain


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Fred M. Cain


#79 jis

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Posted 14 June 2018 - 08:33 AM

 

Southwest Chief among the first to get PTC on host railroad. CZ between Chicago and Denver too.

 

https://media.amtrak...trol-milestone/

Thanks, JIS.  Yesterday I saw a similar article on my "Progressive Rail" e-mail newsletter.  However, I couldn't see where the Hutchison-Dodge City-Trinidad-Albuquerque segment was mentioned so I wondered if they meant to include that too or what the situation is there.

 

Regards,

Fred M. Cain

 

I believe Trinidad to (or just south of it) to Lamy (or slightly west of it where Rail Runner joins it) is Exempt, and is not required to have PTC by the current law. This is similar to San Louis Obispo to the boundary of Caltrain operations just south of San Jose where the Coast Starlight and a couple of non-hazmat freight operates each day. The CZ has such a segment too through the mountains in Colorado and Utah, Looks like Dotsero to Price or thereabouts..

 

Thence to ABQ technically does not require PTC on weekends given current traffic, but does on weekdays given total traffic. If Rail Runner temporarily cuts down the number of its runs on weekdays to below the PTC threshold, it could continue to operate without PTC giving Rail Runner some breathing room to complete installation of PTC, without affecting SWC service. We'll see how it rolls.


Edited by jis, 14 June 2018 - 09:50 AM.


#80 Chey

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Posted 15 June 2018 - 08:49 PM

The real problem with serving lubbock is there's then no easy way to get to Fort Worth from there. You could use the UP line from Sweetwater to FTW, but I bet the UP would demand a king's ransom for that. So the easier option that will probably have less ridership is going from Amarillo to FTW completely on BNSF. At 800 miles, it is within the scope of Amtrak to create such a route, but it would be poor for a corridor service, and most likely require sleepers.


Amarillo would be great too, almost 200 miles closer than FTW or LMY or ABQ. If not thrufare then Greyhound is still inexpensive enough

Edited by Chey, 15 June 2018 - 08:49 PM.





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