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Why in the world would somebody run a passenger train to Catlettsburg? That just has no practical reason.

What is the Niagara Rainbow?

One runs a train to Catlettsburg just because one can force it to be run by threatening budget approval for the rest of the system if it is not run.

 

The Niagara Rainbow was for a period a train that ran from New York to Detroit running through Canada between Buffalo and Detroit. It was originally introduce sometime around late 1974 as an extension of the Empire State Express to Detroit funded by Michigan and New York states, and then the name was changed around 1976. It was a day train so it carried no sleepers. It left New York Grand Central at 8:30am arriving Detroit at 10:05pm and left Detroit at 7:45am arriving back at NYG at 9:50pm. See the 1975 New York - Buffalo - Detroit Timetable (see Empire State Express in that timetable). Notice that there was no Maple Leaf yet. Also notice that there was no Niagara Falls service either, and the connecting service to Toronto ran on a close approximation of the route that would need to be brought back if the Whirlpool Bridge actually gets abandoned by CN without Amtrak/VIA/New York/Ontario taking it over.

 

It was cut back to Niagara Falls in 1979 when both New York state and Michigan withdrew support for it.

Edited by jis

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It was cut back to Niagara Falls in 1979 when both New York state and Michigan withdrew support for it.

 

What happened after that? Did it get renamed the Maple Leaf?

Edited by Swadian Hardcore

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It was cut back to Niagara Falls in 1979 when both New York state and Michigan withdrew support for it.

 

Wht happened after that? Did it get renamed the Maple Leaf?

No. It was still called the Niagara Rainbow and continued to run to Niagara Falls. The Maple Leaf was introduced as the first joint venture between Amtrak and VIA in 1981.

 

There are a couple of other interesting things to note in the timetables for the Empire Corridor circa 1974-75.

 

In 1974 there was a through Sleeper from Montreal to Florida via the Montrealer and one of the Silvers (81/82 Silver Star) with a 3 hour layover in Washington DC both ways. And there was no Lake Shore Limited. There were three daily trains to Florida from New York, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor and the Champion. In addition there was a fourth New York Florida train called the Miamian which ran Dec 15 to April 7. The Silver Meteor apparently ran non-stop between Richmond and Savannah, at least as far as commercial stops were concerned. Of course I am sure they changed crew possibly once or twice between the two.

Edited by jis

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I've wondered about rerouting the Cardinal via LYH/ROA, actually, for the very reasons that you mentioned (plus getting it off of the BBRR, which has just been a problem and which IIRC is one of the stumbling blocks to daily service). However, assuming that the train starts in NYP instead of BOS, the extra hours would actually help the train by pushing the Cincinatti hours later in the morning. Not only that, but it would also likely provide the "reverse" service for Lynchburg and Charlottesville that is greatly desired...honestly, such a train could probably operate with a smaller operating loss than the Cardinal currently does between CIN-IND-CHI business and ROA-LYH-CVS-WAS-NYP business (and might even need an extra coach or two ROA-NYP if those intermediate markets keep growing).

 

Also of interest...the Hilltopper had 66/67 in the schedule, and IIRC it went via Richmond at one point or another (with a connecting Ambus to NFK). Basically, from what I can tell it was cut back to become the Twilight Shoreliner.

 

Edit: I figured out what the magic "cut" metric was for '79: Passenger miles per train mile.

Edited by Anderson

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Also of interest...the Hilltopper had 66/67 in the schedule, and IIRC it went via Richmond at one point or another (with a connecting Ambus to NFK). Basically, from what I can tell it was cut back to become the Twilight Shoreliner.

Yes. The Hilltopper ran Boston - New York - Washington - Richmond - Petersburg - Lynchburg - Roanoke - Bluefield - Catlettsburg at least for part of its existence. The plugging together of 66/67 with the Hilltopper was a desperate attempt to make the numbers for the Hilltopper look good. :)

 

For another few more hours added to the schedule, you could run the Cardinal that way too :lol:

Edited by jis

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Also of interest...the Hilltopper had 66/67 in the schedule, and IIRC it went via Richmond at one point or another (with a connecting Ambus to NFK). Basically, from what I can tell it was cut back to become the Twilight Shoreliner.

Yes. The Hilltopper ran Boston - New York - Washington - Richmond - Petersburg - Lynchburg - Roanoke - Bluefield - Catlettsburg at least for part of its existence. The plugging together of 66/67 with the Hilltopper was a desperate attempt to make the numbers for the Hilltopper look good. :)

 

For another few more hours added to the schedule, you could run the Cardinal that way too :lol:

 

lol...that would probably be a bad idea. In the long run, though, connecting with a hypothetical TDX at either Roanoke or Lynchburg might be worthwhile (and might actually restore the Hampton Roads-to-the-west link if interest and ridership could be found for a set of through cars).

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In 1974 there was a through Sleeper from Montreal to Florida via the Montrealer and one of the Silvers (81/82 Silver Star) with a 3 hour layover in Washington DC both ways. And there was no Lake Shore Limited. There were three daily trains to Florida from New York, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor and the Champion. In addition there was a fourth New York Florida train called the Miamian which ran Dec 15 to April 7. The Silver Meteor apparently ran non-stop between Richmond and Savannah, at least as far as commercial stops were concerned. Of course I am sure they changed crew possibly once or twice between the two.

 

The through sleeper from MTR-MIA was recently suggested on a thread here. I had no idea it actually ran before.

 

I think the LSL was introduced in 1975, just after your timetable.

 

The old SM is very interesting because it was very similar to the Orange Blossom Special. I think I already have the Champion ridership resolved because the cars were just merged onto the SS/SM.

 

Now I am still looking for old LSL, BL, and SL ridership stats 1971-1979.

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Yes. The Hilltopper ran Boston - New York - Washington - Richmond - Petersburg - Lynchburg - Roanoke - Bluefield - Catlettsburg at least for part of its existence. The plugging together of 66/67 with the Hilltopper was a desperate attempt to make the numbers for the Hilltopper look good. :)

 

For another few more hours added to the schedule, you could run the Cardinal that way too :lol:

That was an, umm, interesting route. Catlettsburg KY is not exactly a town that comes to mind as a logical place to terminate a train route. :blink:

 

edit: word order

Edited by afigg

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In 1974 there was a through Sleeper from Montreal to Florida via the Montrealer and one of the Silvers (81/82 Silver Star) with a 3 hour layover in Washington DC both ways. And there was no Lake Shore Limited. There were three daily trains to Florida from New York, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor and the Champion. In addition there was a fourth New York Florida train called the Miamian which ran Dec 15 to April 7. The Silver Meteor apparently ran non-stop between Richmond and Savannah, at least as far as commercial stops were concerned. Of course I am sure they changed crew possibly once or twice between the two.

 

The through sleeper from MTR-MIA was recently suggested on a thread here. I had no idea it actually ran before.

 

I think the LSL was introduced in 1975, just after your timetable.

 

The old SM is very interesting because it was very similar to the Orange Blossom Special. I think I already have the Champion ridership resolved because the cars were just merged onto the SS/SM.

 

Now I am still looking for old LSL, BL, and SL ridership stats 1971-1979.

 

Most of the ideas I suggest draw on things that have happened before. In a sense, what I tend to kick around focuses on getting back as much of that which has been lost over the years more than anything. Yes, maybe getting it back a bit faster or over a different routing, but still getting it back.

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In 1974 there was a through Sleeper from Montreal to Florida via the Montrealer and one of the Silvers (81/82 Silver Star) with a 3 hour layover in Washington DC both ways. And there was no Lake Shore Limited. There were three daily trains to Florida from New York, the Silver Star, the Silver Meteor and the Champion. In addition there was a fourth New York Florida train called the Miamian which ran Dec 15 to April 7. The Silver Meteor apparently ran non-stop between Richmond and Savannah, at least as far as commercial stops were concerned. Of course I am sure they changed crew possibly once or twice between the two.

 

The through sleeper from MTR-MIA was recently suggested on a thread here. I had no idea it actually ran before.

 

I think the LSL was introduced in 1975, just after your timetable.

 

The old SM is very interesting because it was very similar to the Orange Blossom Special. I think I already have the Champion ridership resolved because the cars were just merged onto the SS/SM.

 

Now I am still looking for old LSL, BL, and SL ridership stats 1971-1979.

 

The modern Lake Shore Limited's first run is October 31, 1975, with both New York and Boston sections. One thing to consider with the LSL is that it drew off patronage from the Broadway Limited, but I don't have hard figures for that.

Edited by Mackensen

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Swadian,

Do you have actual numbers on the Silvers? I'd be very curious to see the status of the Florida service from before 2000.

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Swadian,

Do you have actual numbers on the Silvers? I'd be very curious to see the status of the Florida service from before 2000.

 

Sorry, I do not. Looks like we both are interested about the NYP-MIA figures before the introduction of Viewliners. When Viewliners were introduced, there were apparantely not enough Viewliners to replace all the Heritages so the NYP-MIA trains took consist reductions.

Edited by Swadian Hardcore

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Yes. The Hilltopper ran Boston - New York - Washington - Richmond - Petersburg - Lynchburg - Roanoke - Bluefield - Catlettsburg at least for part of its existence. The plugging together of 66/67 with the Hilltopper was a desperate attempt to make the numbers for the Hilltopper look good. :)

 

For another few more hours added to the schedule, you could run the Cardinal that way too :lol:

That was an, umm, interesting route. Catlettsburg KY is exactly not a town that comes to mind as a logical place to terminate a train route. :blink:

The reason the Hilltopper ran to Catlettsburg/Tri-State Station, is that is the point near Kenova, WVa where the C&O (Cardinal), and N&W (HIlltopper) routes crossed on their way towards Cincinnati. So while Catlettsburg is an unlikely terminal point, it at least provided a connection, albeit a poor one, for Hilltopper route passengers to continue west.

Earlier, the N&W Amtrak train, the Mountaineer, did go all the way to Cincy, and IIRC carried cars to and from the Cardinal to Chicago. There was a time when you could also connect west at Cincy from/to the Shenandoah which ran on the shorter B&O route from Washington.

Edited by railiner

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As part of my effort to determine SL "retro" ridership, I found these photos to see how long the consists used to be:

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=95094&nseq=7 - March 1978 (low season), before Superliners

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=301090&nseq=13 - July 1978 (high season), before Superliners

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=179674&nseq=15 - 1989, after Superliners

 

I would apprieciate anybody's help in identifying those railcars.

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Guys, I just found a really long Coast Starlight from July 1974. Looks like sixteen cars, longer than today's CS, but probably less capacity because the 10-6 Sleepers carryfar less than today's Superliner Sleepers.

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=63526&nseq=3

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For NYP-CHI trains, trying to use consists to have some idea of ridership:

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=102139&nseq=23 - LSL, 10 cars, same number with other pictures

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=352409&nseq=52 - BL, 15 cars, much longer than LSL, cannot confirm if this is standard consist

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=325085&nseq=6 - BL, can count 13 cars, more cars may not be in view

 

NYP-MIA:

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=356220&nseq=1 - Best pic. I could find about the Champion. Can't count cars.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=356220&nseq=1 - Old Silver Star, 12 cars, somebody remarked "usually 16 to 18 cars".

 

Finally, could someone please tell me what the Blue Ridge was? I found a picture.

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=319213&nseq=2 - BR, at least six Amfleet Is, cannot see baggage car, don't know about this train at all.

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There's somewhere on here that I recall seeing a video of one of the Silvers in Orlando. It was something like ten coaches, two cafes, five or six sleepers, a diner, and a twin unit diner.

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There's somewhere on here that I recall seeing a video of one of the Silvers in Orlando. It was something like ten coaches, two cafes, five or six sleepers, a diner, and a twin unit diner.

But that could be a peak of the peak season Silver. Need to get real numbers on the annual ridership with at least a breakdown into coach only and sleeper numbers for all the NEC to Florida trains.

 

One thing is that I think Florida travel patterns have changed since the 1970s. With the expansion of Orlando, Disney World, and resorts, there is probably a lot more summer tourist travel. Sure there was summer tourist travel to FL back in the 60s and 70s, but winter was the big season back then. Now it is more year round with a winter peak and a July-August peak. To get a better feel for Amtrak ridership to FL back in the 1970s, monthly or seasonal breakdowns would be useful. A lot harder to find though.

 

As for the Viewliner sleepers, remember the order was originally to be for 100 sleeper cars. Because of budget cuts, 50 was all Amtrak got.

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For NYP-CHI trains, trying to use consists to have some idea of ridership:

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=102139&nseq=23 - LSL, 10 cars, same number with other pictures

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=352409&nseq=52 - BL, 15 cars, much longer than LSL, cannot confirm if this is standard consist

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=325085&nseq=6 - BL, can count 13 cars, more cars may not be in view

 

NYP-MIA:

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=356220&nseq=1 - Best pic. I could find about the Champion. Can't count cars.

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=356220&nseq=1 - Old Silver Star, 12 cars, somebody remarked "usually 16 to 18 cars".

 

Finally, could someone please tell me what the Blue Ridge was? I found a picture.

 

http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=319213&nseq=2 - BR, at least six Amfleet Is, cannot see baggage car, don't know about this train at all.

The Blue Ridge was a Washington to Parkersburg, WV train. It was the first train to be started at the request of the West Virginia delegation (Byrd and Staggers). For a while the UA Turbotrain was used on this route. The train was later exended to Cincinnati as the Shenandoan via B&O's old National Limited Route. It carried an Amfleet coach with 2 sleeper rooms as an experiment. It was discontinued in 1979 or 1981. The Capitol Limited uses the same route from Washington to Cumberland. Some of the line from Cumberland to Cincinnati has been abandoned.

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There's somewhere on here that I recall seeing a video of one of the Silvers in Orlando. It was something like ten coaches, two cafes, five or six sleepers, a diner, and a twin unit diner.

But that could be a peak of the peak season Silver. Need to get real numbers on the annual ridership with at least a breakdown into coach only and sleeper numbers for all the NEC to Florida trains.

 

One thing is that I think Florida travel patterns have changed since the 1970s. With the expansion of Orlando, Disney World, and resorts, there is probably a lot more summer tourist travel. Sure there was summer tourist travel to FL back in the 60s and 70s, but winter was the big season back then. Now it is more year round with a winter peak and a July-August peak. To get a better feel for Amtrak ridership to FL back in the 1970s, monthly or seasonal breakdowns would be useful. A lot harder to find though.

 

As for the Viewliner sleepers, remember the order was originally to be for 100 sleeper cars. Because of budget cuts, 50 was all Amtrak got.

 

I think it may also be worth noting that the present-day Auto Train has probably pulled a lot of riders off of the Silvers. Combined, the three Florida trains (SS, SM, and AT) run well over a million riders, and adding in the Palmetto puts you just over 1.25 million for last year.

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The Blue Ridge was a Washington to Parkersburg, WV train. It was the first train to be started at the request of the West Virginia delegation (Byrd and Staggers). For a while the UA Turbotrain was used on this route. The train was later exended to Cincinnati as the Shenandoan via B&O's old National Limited Route. It carried an Amfleet coach with 2 sleeper rooms as an experiment. It was discontinued in 1979 or 1981. The Capitol Limited uses the same route from Washington to Cumberland. Some of the line from Cumberland to Cincinnati has been abandoned.

 

Why did they cancel it? Not enough funding?

 

If the AT drew passengers off the other trains, then Florida ridership may not have taken as big a hit as I initially thought. The SL was also not that long after all, and the CS with sixteen cars was only single-level.

 

I think that the biggest problem right now would be the LSL/BL, because those trains could/can only use single-level cars. I think NYP/BOS-CHI used to have 25 cars a day, 15 plus 10, but now that is down to 13-14. The Viewliners can carry more but I suspect that total capacity from NYP-CHI has gone down. Good thing is, Amtrak is going to add through cars to the Penny and probably add more cars to the LSL.

 

However, I still cannot calculete how much LD ridership used to be without knowing all the LD ridership stats. I will try my best to find out but it will be hard.

 

Thank you for your time and effort in this thread.

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Amtrak in the Heartland by Craig Sanders details the changes in Amtrak's various routes/trains which serve and have served the "Heartland," which he essentially defines as any trains operating to, through, or from the Midwest (basically all Chicago trains plus a few corridors that are appendages of Chicago trains). In the book, some ridership figures are listed, but unfortunately it does not list every train every year. With that in mind, here is what it has (with 2011 figures for comparison):

 

Eric, do you have the stats for the SFZ/CZ? Looks like this SFZ has 14 cars: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=349331&nseq=11, but this one only has 10 cars: http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=59923&nseq=12

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Amtrak in the Heartland by Craig Sanders details the changes in Amtrak's various routes/trains which serve and have served the "Heartland," which he essentially defines as any trains operating to, through, or from the Midwest (basically all Chicago trains plus a few corridors that are appendages of Chicago trains). In the book, some ridership figures are listed, but unfortunately it does not list every train every year. With that in mind, here is what it has (with 2011 figures for comparison):

 

Eric, do you have the stats for the SFZ/CZ? Looks like this SFZ has 14 cars: http://www.railpictu...=349331&nseq=11, but this one only has 10 cars: http://www.railpictu...d=59923&nseq=12

The only numbers in that book I have are:

 

California Zephyr

1994 - 379,000

1995 - 322,000

1996 - 224,000

2003 - 292,000

2004 - 335,764

 

Desert Wind

1995 - 120,000

 

Pioneer

1977 - 68.566

1995 - 89,000

 

Rio Grande Zephyr

1971 - 19,809

1973 - 30,750

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As an FYI covering the past 11 years, these are the ridership numbers by category from Amtrak press releases after the end of the past 2 fiscal years announcing their record breaking year for ridership (and ticket revenue). It should be pointed out that the total numbers for FY00 through FY06 are less than the total numbers provided for each year in the Amtrak 40 year anniversary book. The difference for FY2000 to FY2005 averages around 1.6 to 1.7 million which has to be the Clocker service. The difference for FY06 is only 85,100 and the Amtrak Clocker service was terminated and turned over to NJ Transit in late October, 2006 shortly after the start of the fiscal year.

 

By dropping the clocker numbers from press release history, Amtrak was making their growth numbers look better, but it does make the list an apples to apples comparison, so I think it was valid for them to do that.

 

FY  	Total   	NEC     	Corridors	LD
FY00	20,992,485	8,398,028	8,577,490	4,016,967
FY01	21,812,224	8,893,657	9,040,248	3,878,319
FY02	21,669,207	9,140,708	8,911,852	3,616,647
FY03	22,333,180	8,999,933	9,564,307	3,768,940
FY04	23,362,729	9,464,262	10,004,304	3,894,163
FY05	24,031,170	9,586,180	10,591,684	3,853,306
FY06	24,306,965	9,431,279	11,144,430	3,731,256
FY07	25,847,531	10,035,012	11,993,252	3,819,267
FY08	28,716,407	10,897,852	13,648,196	4,170,359
FY09	27,167,014	9,946,027	13,022,237	4,198,750
FY10	28,716,857	10,375,209	13,866,804	4,474,844
FY11	30,186,733	10,899,889	14,765,011	4,521,833

It would be interesting to get this breakdown going back to 1972 or 1973, but I don't have those numbers. What the table makes clear is that the major growth in the past 11 years has been in state supported and short distance corridors. The LD trains have been growing with the low point in FY02 since FY00. Guess I could post the ticket revenue breakdown too because that shows the impact of the Acelas on the revenue.

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The Blue Ridge was a Washington to Parkersburg, WV train. It was the first train to be started at the request of the West Virginia delegation (Byrd and Staggers). For a while the UA Turbotrain was used on this route. The train was later exended to Cincinnati as the Shenandoan via B&O's old National Limited Route. It carried an Amfleet coach with 2 sleeper rooms as an experiment. It was discontinued in 1979 or 1981. The Capitol Limited uses the same route from Washington to Cumberland. Some of the line from Cumberland to Cincinnati has been abandoned.

 

Why did they cancel it? Not enough funding?

 

If the AT drew passengers off the other trains, then Florida ridership may not have taken as big a hit as I initially thought. The SL was also not that long after all, and the CS with sixteen cars was only single-level.

 

I think that the biggest problem right now would be the LSL/BL, because those trains could/can only use single-level cars. I think NYP/BOS-CHI used to have 25 cars a day, 15 plus 10, but now that is down to 13-14. The Viewliners can carry more but I suspect that total capacity from NYP-CHI has gone down. Good thing is, Amtrak is going to add through cars to the Penny and probably add more cars to the LSL.

 

However, I still cannot calculete how much LD ridership used to be without knowing all the LD ridership stats. I will try my best to find out but it will be hard.

 

Thank you for your time and effort in this thread.

The Shenandoan was cancelled due to lack of patronage. It ran on the same schedule as the Cardinal. I remember being in the Cincinnati Station (the Amtrak built station not the Terminal) The Cardinal arrived and departed, then the Shenandoan departed. It carried two Amfleet coaches, one had 2 sleeping rooms plus an Amcafe. The Cardinal had a sleeper and full dining service. the train was well patronized from Cincinnati to Chillicothe where Ohio University is located and then from Cumberland to Washington. There were only 5 passengers traveling all the way through from Cincinnati to Washington. The train was operated at the mandate of the WV delegation. The Capitol Ltd now covers the Cumberland-Washington portion of the route. CSX desired to and has abandoned parts of the route from Cumberland to Cincinnati. The Shenandoan was a political train.

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