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Discontinued Amtrak Routes: Any Future?

Discontinued Amtrak Routes  

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I think there is some promise with CL/Pennsylvanian since the two trains already run and you just have to "hook" them. The problem would then be that any delays from the Capitol Limited between CHI and PGH would mean the Pennsylvanian would be delayed. If they keep the format now and the CL is delayed, the Pennsylvanian leaves on time but the passengers on the CL that need to make the connection are screwed. I still think the connection is worth having but I'm sure the PGH to PHL or PGH to HAR or PGH to NYP may disagree. Of course the best solution would be a separate Pennsylvanian and another CHI to PHL train but that would be way too expensive for Amtrak.

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I think there is some promise with CL/Pennsylvanian since the two trains already run and you just have to "hook" them. The problem would then be that any delays from the Capitol Limited between CHI and PGH would mean the Pennsylvanian would be delayed. If they keep the format now and the CL is delayed, the Pennsylvanian leaves on time but the passengers on the CL that need to make the connection are screwed. I still think the connection is worth having but I'm sure the PGH to PHL or PGH to HAR or PGH to NYP may disagree. Of course the best solution would be a separate Pennsylvanian and another CHI to PHL train but that would be way too expensive for Amtrak.

Maybe that argument could be turned around and Amtrak could tell NS, if you don't make sure this train runs on time we will have no choice but to run two trains rather than one.

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I think there is some promise with CL/Pennsylvanian since the two trains already run and you just have to "hook" them. The problem would then be that any delays from the Capitol Limited between CHI and PGH would mean the Pennsylvanian would be delayed. If they keep the format now and the CL is delayed, the Pennsylvanian leaves on time but the passengers on the CL that need to make the connection are screwed. I still think the connection is worth having but I'm sure the PGH to PHL or PGH to HAR or PGH to NYP may disagree. Of course the best solution would be a separate Pennsylvanian and another CHI to PHL train but that would be way too expensive for Amtrak.

Maybe that argument could be turned around and Amtrak could tell NS, if you don't make sure this train runs on time we will have no choice but to run two trains rather than one.
I like your thinking, and think that this should be expanded to include anywhere on anyone's track that cars are switched, such as San Antonio, Spokane, and Albany.

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Maybe that argument could be turned around and Amtrak could tell NS, if you don't make sure this train runs on time we will have no choice but to run two trains rather than one.

 

 

That should go over well. :blink:

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Maybe that argument could be turned around and Amtrak could tell NS, if you don't make sure this train runs on time we will have no choice but to run two trains rather than one.

 

 

That should go over well. :blink:

 

I'm going to agree with Thirdrail7 on this, but I do wonder what options in this regard Amtrak might have in terms of at least forcing schedule changes to maintain connections in cases of long-term OTP problems so long as the problem is mostly on the primary host railroad. We haven't gotten to this point yet (though the Builder got close at one point; there was a serious examination of whether or not to switch the schedule around on several fronts there IIRC), but this is a question to ponder. Another thing to ponder wouldn't be moving schedules but insisting on some level of priority in a later slot if there's a persistent delay (e.g. if NS can't get a train out of Gary on time then they need to provide a slot later to enable the train to have a reasonably clear run to Cleveland).

 

One thing which ironically hobbles seeking extra sections/trains is the fact that the railroads on each side of Chicago are different. If you had clear cases of OTP on one side of CHI fouling up through traffic to the other side (e.g. Builder-to-Cap) there might be some room to say "if you can't get the Builder to CHI on time we want an extra Cap section" (or "If you can't get the LSL to CHI in time to connect, we want to move the Builder back and run a CHI-MSP train at the appropriate time"). Basically, in cases where there's a single host it is probably easier to twist arms; when you have multiple hosts, there's always room for the Blame Game to go on and on.

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One thing which ironically hobbles seeking extra sections/trains is the fact that the railroads on each side of Chicago are different. If you had clear cases of OTP on one side of CHI fouling up through traffic to the other side (e.g. Builder-to-Cap) there might be some room to say "if you can't get the Builder to CHI on time we want an extra Cap section" (or "If you can't get the LSL to CHI in time to connect, we want to move the Builder back and run a CHI-MSP train at the appropriate time"). Basically, in cases where there's a single host it is probably easier to twist arms; when you have multiple hosts, there's always room for the Blame Game to go on and on.

Hmmmmm. It's CSX from Cleveland to Schenectady and from DC to Pittsburgh and from DC to Richmond to Newport News, Raleigh, and Florida.... "Deliver the Silvers on time or we need an extra Cap and an extra LSL?"

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One thing which ironically hobbles seeking extra sections/trains is the fact that the railroads on each side of Chicago are different. If you had clear cases of OTP on one side of CHI fouling up through traffic to the other side (e.g. Builder-to-Cap) there might be some room to say "if you can't get the Builder to CHI on time we want an extra Cap section" (or "If you can't get the LSL to CHI in time to connect, we want to move the Builder back and run a CHI-MSP train at the appropriate time"). Basically, in cases where there's a single host it is probably easier to twist arms; when you have multiple hosts, there's always room for the Blame Game to go on and on.

Hmmmmm. It's CSX from Cleveland to Schenectady and from DC to Pittsburgh and from DC to Richmond to Newport News, Raleigh, and Florida.... "Deliver the Silvers on time or we need an extra Cap and an extra LSL?"

 

I think you might be able to make the case for one of those. Maybe not both, but I think you could make the case for at least one to act as a "cleanup" operation heading west...the LSL probably having the strongest case for a second frequency (considering load factors, markets served, and the fact that Meteor-LSL timing is tighter than Meteor-Cap).

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Since we're dreaming.....how about a list of the most unlikely RR routes ever to return to passenger service....such as, The Wabash Cannonball from St. Louis to Detroit....? :P

 

Or....The Butte Special? Texas Zephyr? Rocky Mountain Rocket? Olympian Hiawatha? Erie Limited? Aztec Eagle?.......this is fun..... :)

 

I have to ask... Butte Special?

 

Sounds like a train David Vitter would sponsor :P

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The ridership potential for the pioneer doesn't come from people traveling between Denver and Portland. It comes from:

 

-People in Ogden visiting family in Boise

-The 200,000+ people in southern Wyoming who may need to fly out of Denver International Airport (a major hub which will soon be connected to Amtrak by commuter rail)

-Residents of eastern Oregon who need to spend a day in Portland to take care of business

-Foreign tourists who would fly into Seattle and take an overnight train to visit national parks

-Residents of Salt Lake City who would never board a Denver-bound train at 3:00 AM, but would gladly board one in the evening and arrive in Denver the next morning

-College students in Ft. Collins who want to spend a weekend in Denver

-People in Idaho Falls attending LDS (mormon) General Conference in Salt Lake

-Etc., etc., etc.

I will say that I strongly support the "Front Range Rail" projects -- Denver-Boulder-Longmont-Lakeland-Fort Collins-Cheyenne (via BNSF), which would serve the southern Wyoming and Fort Collins passengers with several-times-a-day service.

 

I also support a Salt Lake - Denver service via the shorter Overland Route by some means. There are a number of principles which I think should be applied to any proposed schedule, though:

-- the through train to California should take the faster route. The Overland Route is 12.5 hours from Salt Lake to Denver, versus 15 hours on the Rio Grande route through the mountains. Even rerouting on the BNSF route from Denver to Cheyenne would only add half an hour, so it's still two hours faster.

-- there's enough demand to run two trains from Denver to Chicago, one leaving Denver in the morning and one in the evening, and one arriving Denver in the morning and one in the evening.

-- the through train to California should have the latest Chicago departure and the earliest Chicago arrival, to avoid missed connections

-- Denver to Cheyenne should be served by a separate local train on the BNSF line, so stopping times along this route shouldn't be considered when scheduling the through train to California.

-- Ski service from Denver to Grand Junction is worthwhile, but should be primarily designed for people getting on at Denver, since this seems to be the strongest market. This means a late-morning departure from Denver and an early-evening arrival at Denver so that skiers have time to get down to Denver from Pueblo, Fort Collins, etc.

 

Looking at all of this, I end up with proposals which depend heavily on Colorado getting into the passenger train business in a big way. Thankfully, this seems possible.

 

I am skeptical of the ridership demand on the Pioneer route between Salt Lake City and Portland, however. We already know that there's not that much travel between the Pacific Northwest on the one hand, and Denver/Salt Lake on the other hand, so it would be dependent on the intermediate stops. The population is really low, and frankly not that many people visit national parks by *any* means. We already see low ridership on the Empire Builder from Portland to Pasco (which the Pioneer paralleled on the other bank of the river). And the population is even lower between Pasco and Boise, and between Boise and Ogden. Boise metro area population is 664,442, which is respectable, but that's it. I don't think the Pioneer route can be justified based on Boise traffic online.

 

I have said elsewhere that I prefer the "Gulf Coast Limited" (New Orleans - Mobile) over the "Sunset East", and I'm saying the same thing here. There should be a Cheyenne-Denver regional rail corridor; there should be a Denver-Grand Junction "ski corridor"; there should be a second Denver-Chicago train; the through train, the California Zephyr, should move over to the faster Overland Route; and for now we should forget about the Ogden-Pasco route. I genuinely believe that the combination would be good for the bottom line of Amtrak.

 

This would all be made easier if Iowa's government hadn't been taken over by anti-rail nuts. The Iowa (Quad Cities - Iowa City - Des Moines - Council Bluffs - Omaha) corridor is very valuable for Denver-Chicago service -- it's shorter, it has more online population, and if developed by the state government, it can have higher top speeds.

 

But really the only state which needs to sign on and put in money to make this work is Colorado.

 

bypassing the Rockies would kill cz ridership.

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bypassing the Rockies would kill cz ridership.

Do you really need to copy the entire two previous articles to make that single liner point? Really?

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Having had the luck to take the Overland Route during a detour, I think it's more scenic than the dull Rocky Mountains. Tastes differ, I suppose.

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Having had the luck to take the Overland Route during a detour, I think it's more scenic than the dull Rocky Mountains. Tastes differ, I suppose.

More scenic?! What kinds of stuff do you see on the Overland Route?

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Herds of antelope and buffalo. Prairie dogs. *Wildlife*.

 

The strange range of hills which you climb to get into Ogden is quite fascinating geologically as well, but it gets dark before you see most of it.

 

There are also some seriously "Old West" towns along that route which look like they haven't had a new house built since the 19th century, which given the population trends, is probably correct.

Edited by neroden

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Herds of antelope and buffalo. Prairie dogs. *Wildlife*.

 

The strange range of hills which you climb to get into Ogden is quite fascinating geologically as well, but it gets dark before you see most of it.

 

You mean Weber and Echo Canyons? Yup they are quite scenic.

 

I agree about the wildlife too.

 

Besides, you do pass through what was described by a Conductor as "Sin City USA" Rock Springs, where back then the street by the train station was fronted by a series of Peep Show and Topless Bars back in the times of the San Francisco Zephyr. :D I don't know if they are still there.

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"IF" Amtrak could receive the same or more funds ear marked for LD trains that it is receiving this FY 2018 for several years then there would be a medium possibility that more routes could be restored. That is when additional rolling stock is available.

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Desert Wind stands out to me, primarily since Las Vegas is a major city that currently lacks any LD trains service.

The problem is that the railroad builders were allergic to cities while building the track north of Vegas.

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What cities did you have in mind north of Vegas?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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What cities did you have in mind north of Vegas?

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

St George, Cedar City

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Might want to check the populations of those cities at the time the rail line was constructed, not the populations today.

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Might want to check the populations of those cities at the time the rail line was constructed, not the populations today.

Even their populations now are really not that impressive. There are similar size cities in other parts of the country that trains pass through and still do not stop. While they could have contributed a few passengers if the railroad went through them, I doubt it would have been enough to significantly improve the performance of the route as a whole.

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