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Is a coast to coast train feasible?

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I believe in the either the text or one of the videos to the Chicago Gateway study Amtrak mentioned that they're holding trains to make connections less often, as it is better to get the trains out on time and suffer through some misconnected passengers than to delay the train for everyone.

Maybe they'll restore the eastbound LSL to the earlier departure time which adds 51 passengers a day and adds $2 million to the bottom line, then? Like the PIP advised?

 

No?

 

Does Amtrak management actually have plans, or do they just thrash around incoherently with a new policy being announced before they've even implemented the previous policy? Don't answer that, I already know the answer is #2. Sigh.

Edited by neroden

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Your problem neroden, is you think someone at Amtrak cares enough to make improvements to the LD network.

 

They have a monopoly on LD train travel in the US. We have to put up with their lousy service because what alternative do we have?

 

If they were an airline, they would've been bought by now. They wouldn't be US Airways that was bought by American. They would be America West which was bought by US Airways.

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I believe in the either the text or one of the videos to the Chicago Gateway study Amtrak mentioned that they're holding trains to make connections less often, as it is better to get the trains out on time and suffer through some misconnected passengers than to delay the train for everyone.

Maybe they'll restore the eastbound LSL to the earlier departure time which adds 51 passengers a day and adds $2 million to the bottom line, then? Like the PIP advised?

 

No?

 

Does Amtrak management actually have plans, or do they just thrash around incoherently with a new policy being announced before they've even implemented the previous policy? Don't answer that, I already know the answer is #2. Sigh.

 

From what I recall:

(1) There have been a slew of issues with the POS systems (mostly related to the shuffle in CC standards) which upended the cashless diner/diner-club idea.

(2) Adding VA stops on the Silvers seems to be slowly happening.

(3) The LSL situation (and indeed the Cap-Pennsylvanian) are likely tied up in a morass of delayed equipment delivery and negotiations with the host RRs (remember: Moving the Cap and LSL means negotiating with CSX and NS on two separate routes). The fact that the LSL was the only train connecting from the Builder for a while probably didn't do that plan any favors; I rather strongly suspect that Amtrak is letting that one ride until the Builder situation settles out, if only because one train connecting to/from a screwed-up Builder is better than no trains connecting,

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I believe in the either the text or one of the videos to the Chicago Gateway study Amtrak mentioned that they're holding trains to make connections less often, as it is better to get the trains out on time and suffer through some misconnected passengers than to delay the train for everyone.

Maybe they'll restore the eastbound LSL to the earlier departure time which adds 51 passengers a day and adds $2 million to the bottom line, then? Like the PIP advised?

 

No?

 

Does Amtrak management actually have plans, or do they just thrash around incoherently with a new policy being announced before they've even implemented the previous policy? Don't answer that, I already know the answer is #2. Sigh.

 

From what I recall:

(1) There have been a slew of issues with the POS systems (mostly related to the shuffle in CC standards) which upended the cashless diner/diner-club idea.

(2) Adding VA stops on the Silvers seems to be slowly happening.

(3) The LSL situation (and indeed the Cap-Pennsylvanian) are likely tied up in a morass of delayed equipment delivery and negotiations with the host RRs (remember: Moving the Cap and LSL means negotiating with CSX and NS on two separate routes). The fact that the LSL was the only train connecting from the Builder for a while probably didn't do that plan any favors; I rather strongly suspect that Amtrak is letting that one ride until the Builder situation settles out, if only because one train connecting to/from a screwed-up Builder is better than no trains connecting,

 

 

The LSL PRIIA proposed the LSL leaving 6pm, CL 7:30pm. I remember the EB on the day I left CHI going east wasn't supposed to get into CHI until around 10pm. They wouldn't even be able to catch the LSL that day if true.

 

I would guess it would be unrealistic to not have a late train (around 9:30pm) going east. I believe at least one poster suggested it would be better for the CL to be the "cleanup" train because it's faster to the east coast. I would probably support a move for the CL to be a 9:30pm train. Amtrak isn't guaranteeing the connection with the Silver Star anyway and it should arrive in WAS in time for the Meteor (although the Crescent connection would be at risk unless they change the schedule enough to allow the connection at NYP). They would also have to move back the Pennsylvanian as it is only a 2.5 hr connection eastbound.

 

I remember the TR left around that time once when I took it but that was the days they had three daily trains CHI to NEC.

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Honestly, a Three Rivers...or indeed a rejiggered Cardinal (if you were willing to run it to Boston and could spare the equipment...said train would basically be overnight CHI-CIN and daytime CIN-WAS)...could fill the role. I'm never a fan of shoving the Cap back further for a host of reasons (I'm amenable to a small nudge, perhaps, to get PGH a slightly better time but that's abut it) but I also understand the situation with the LSL...though in the case of the LSL, I think you'd run the risk of denting the intrastate traffic in New York (I don't have numbers, but I do strongly suspect that 280 doesn't have much traffic from Buffalo/Rochester (IIRC the train in that general slot terminated in Syracuse or somewhere like that back in the early days) given the hours. I'm not going to disagree that the LSL would probably add some O/D traffic on the western end of its eastbound run (though how much of this would be rearranging deckchairs with the Cap is an open question) but the train gets a pretty good chunk of its ridership from "local" traffic in upstate NY/upstate-to-NYP traffic.

 

You're right that the Builder was missing the LSL on some days, but it was almost always missing the other trains while it a least occasionally made the LSL...so the legal connection was never broken. There really is a need for a "cleanup train"; honestly, it's a shame we don't have more equipment an so on, since if you at least had a super-late train out of CHI, even if it ran as a cafe-only operation and so on, if the equipment flexibility was there you could switch some cars over and get a lot of people to where they were intending to go in the face of a FUBAR on the Western routes.

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Honestly, a Three Rivers...or indeed a rejiggered Cardinal (if you were willing to run it to Boston and could spare the equipment...said train would basically be overnight CHI-CIN and daytime CIN-WAS)...could fill the role. I'm never a fan of shoving the Cap back further for a host of reasons (I'm amenable to a small nudge, perhaps, to get PGH a slightly better time but that's abut it) but I also understand the situation with the LSL...though in the case of the LSL, I think you'd run the risk of denting the intrastate traffic in New York (I don't have numbers, but I do strongly suspect that 280 doesn't have much traffic from Buffalo/Rochester (IIRC the train in that general slot terminated in Syracuse or somewhere like that back in the early days) given the hours. I'm not going to disagree that the LSL would probably add some O/D traffic on the western end of its eastbound run (though how much of this would be rearranging deckchairs with the Cap is an open question) but the train gets a pretty good chunk of its ridership from "local" traffic in upstate NY/upstate-to-NYP traffic.

 

You're right that the Builder was missing the LSL on some days, but it was almost always missing the other trains while it a least occasionally made the LSL...so the legal connection was never broken. There really is a need for a "cleanup train"; honestly, it's a shame we don't have more equipment an so on, since if you at least had a super-late train out of CHI, even if it ran as a cafe-only operation and so on, if the equipment flexibility was there you could switch some cars over and get a lot of people to where they were intending to go in the face of a FUBAR on the Western routes.

 

The Cardinal can't be pushed back to 9:30pm unless you want it to get into NYP after midnight.

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I'm sure saxman, other pilots, and others with more flight experience will weigh in with some corrections and clarifications, but that's how I've always experienced landings. I read a lot and watch a lot of videos because I love flying so much. :) I actually LOVE takeoffs and landings and think the part in the air is kind of boring, so I really don't mind connections. More fun stuff and less boring stuff. ;)

 

 

I'm a pilot and can say you've got the main points covered and are mostly right. Flying commercially is very safe no matter how many takeoffs and landings you do in a day.

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Besides the above mentioned NYP-LAX thru sleeper from the Crescent to the tri-weekly Sunset, Amtrak also operated a daily thru sleeper from the National Limited to the Chief.

 

 

Now as to the argument that running a thru train coast to coast would 'guarantee' not missing a connection at a hub like Chicago, well.......hold on a minute....I can see some scenario's where if the train from the East is severely delayed, they could run a 'make-up' train from Chicago west on time, and then terminate the late train when it did reach Chicago and reaccommodate the 'misconnect's'......often times during severe weather conditions or track disruptions, Amtrak will 'short-turn' thru trains in an effort to get everything back on schedule....so being on a thru train is still not an absolute 'guarantee' except of course in the sense that Amtrak would be responsible for accommodation those passenger's involved.

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Now as to the argument that running a thru train coast to coast would 'guarantee' not missing a connection at a hub like Chicago, well.......hold on a minute....I can see some scenario's where if the train from the East is severely delayed, they could run a 'make-up' train from Chicago west on time, and then terminate the late train when it did reach Chicago and reaccommodate the 'misconnect's'......often times during severe weather conditions or track disruptions, Amtrak will 'short-turn' thru trains in an effort to get everything back on schedule....so being on a thru train is still not an absolute 'guarantee' except of course in the sense that Amtrak would be responsible for accommodation those passenger's involved.

Amtrak is already responsible for handling misconnects on guaranteed connection itineraries, so there is absolutely nothing gained in that respect. All that is gained is a major logistical headache of trying to keep a 2700 mile three day itinerary sufficiently on time its entire length and not screw many things up at many places down the line, for relatively very little gain. Edited by jis

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Now as to the argument that running a thru train coast to coast would 'guarantee' not missing a connection at a hub like Chicago, well.......hold on a minute....I can see some scenario's where if the train from the East is severely delayed, they could run a 'make-up' train from Chicago west on time, and then terminate the late train when it did reach Chicago and reaccommodate the 'misconnect's'......often times during severe weather conditions or track disruptions, Amtrak will 'short-turn' thru trains in an effort to get everything back on schedule....so being on a thru train is still not an absolute 'guarantee' except of course in the sense that Amtrak would be responsible for accommodation those passenger's involved.

Amtrak is already responsible for handling misconnects on guaranteed connection itineraries, so there is absolutely nothing gained in that respect. All that is gained is a major logistical headache of trying to keep a 2700 mile three day itinerary sufficiently on time its entire length and not screw many things up at many places down the line, for relatively very little gain.

 

Agreed....you would probably need to do like VIA does with the long layover's on its Canadian....

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I would guess it would be unrealistic to not have a late train (around 9:30pm) going east.

I'm going to make a hard call here. I think this is the tail wagging the dog, and Amtrak should *not* have a "cleanup train" for late western trains. This is wasting a valuable Chicago-East Coast slot on assisting the money-sucking western Transcontinentals. If there were an independent business case for a train departing Chicago for the east at 9:30, that would be a reason to do it; "collecting passengers from delayed Western trains" is NOT a good reason.

 

We've already documented that a supermajority of "Chicago-East Coast" passengers do *not* connect from *any* western trains. (A fair number connect to the corridors, but we're not worried about those trains being super-late.)

 

LSL ridership was predicted to go up by 10% or more by changing the schedule. Is it really worth losing 9% of your riders on a *relatively successful* service, in order to avoid overnight stays and hotel bills for customers on your *less successful*, *lower-ticket-price-per-mile* services? I say it isn't. They don't hold the Silver Service for late trains coming into NYP or WAS. They should dispatch the LSL at an appropriate starting time and not hold it for Western trains.

 

I will also point out that people taking most of the Western trains long distances are not in a hurry and can afford to spend the time overnight in Chicago in case of a late train. People riding a short distance on those trains, like from Denver or Minneapolis are an exception, but they are already dealing with their train arriving at their starting point late, and have time to find alternate transportation if they're in a hurry to make the Chicago connection.

 

I'll tell you what railways USED to do in situations like this.

(a) The railway owned a hotel located in the station.

(b) When getting news of delays that day, the railway would block out rooms in the hotel for delayed trains.

I don't know if Amtrak could set up a partnership with a hotel company and do this, but it would be better than messing up another train's schedule.

Edited by neroden

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I also understand the situation with the LSL...though in the case of the LSL, I think you'd run the risk of denting the intrastate traffic in New York (I don't have numbers, but I do strongly suspect that 280 doesn't have much traffic from Buffalo/Rochester (IIRC the train in that general slot terminated in Syracuse or somewhere like that back in the early days) given the hours.

The LSL would move back 3 1/2 hours into the 238 slot. This would be too close to the 284, so the 284 would be cut back to a ALB-NYP train, with an NFL-NYP train in the former LSL slot...

 

The "new" 284 would leave Niagara Falls at 8:17 AM and Buffalo Exchange St. at 8:52 AM; probably quite attractive.

The "new" LSL would not serve Niagara Falls or Buffalo Exchange St. but would leave Depew around 5:30 AM. It would still get quite a lot of upstate NY - NYP passengers.

 

However, it would definitely be better to move upstate NY-NYP passengers from the LSL to the other Empire Service trains, as this creates more seats for passengers going from NYP/Boston/Upstate NY to Cleveland/Toledo/Michigan/Chicago. The LSL is typically a lot more crowded than the Empire Service trains typically are.

 

Um, I realize I'm sort of creating a separate topic here, but I'm not sure what to call it. ("Chicago East Coast Service Proposals"?)

Edited by neroden

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Neroden, I agree completely with your proposal. If there is significant clientele to be had from NFL and Buffalo Exchange St at 5 am NYSDOT can just arrange to run a connecting Thruway bus.

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I would guess it would be unrealistic to not have a late train (around 9:30pm) going east.

I'm going to make a hard call here. I think this is the tail wagging the dog, and Amtrak should *not* have a "cleanup train" for late western trains. This is wasting a valuable Chicago-East Coast slot on assisting the money-sucking western Transcontinentals. If there were an independent business case for a train departing Chicago for the east at 9:30, that would be a reason to do it; "collecting passengers from delayed Western trains" is NOT a good reason.

 

We've already documented that a supermajority of "Chicago-East Coast" passengers do *not* connect from *any* western trains. (A fair number connect to the corridors, but we're not worried about those trains being super-late.)

 

LSL ridership was predicted to go up by 10% or more by changing the schedule. Is it really worth losing 9% of your riders on a *relatively successful* service, in order to avoid overnight stays and hotel bills for customers on your *less successful*, *lower-ticket-price-per-mile* services? I say it isn't. They don't hold the Silver Service for late trains coming into NYP or WAS. They should dispatch the LSL at an appropriate starting time and not hold it for Western trains.

 

I will also point out that people taking most of the Western trains long distances are not in a hurry and can afford to spend the time overnight in Chicago in case of a late train. People riding a short distance on those trains, like from Denver or Minneapolis are an exception, but they are already dealing with their train arriving at their starting point late, and have time to find alternate transportation if they're in a hurry to make the Chicago connection.

 

I'll tell you what railways USED to do in situations like this.

(a) The railway owned a hotel located in the station.

(b) When getting news of delays that day, the railway would block out rooms in the hotel for delayed trains.

I don't know if Amtrak could set up a partnership with a hotel company and do this, but it would be better than messing up another train's schedule.

 

 

It sounds like you want the more "connected corridor" approach. Nothing personal but I hope that doesn't in general happen. I think for the most part CHI works. I have been past CHI three times (all Southwest Chief coming east) and never missed my East Coast train (twice Three Rivers, once Capitol Limited). I hope we don't get to a situation where if you want to get from the East Coast to California you have to make 2-3 transfers as opposed to the 1 now (honestly I'd love it to be 0 but that might not be realistic in 2015). That would give you three chances to miss a connection as opposed to one.

 

I get that the longer a train the more delays there are. I want the CL/Pennsylvanian to happen but I understand PGH residents would prefer not to have to wait for the CL to come from CHI to travel east. If PA DOT does come through with the second PGH to NYP train, I think that will help PGH passengers to give them a train that does not come from CHI.

 

In terms of the LSL leaving early, I guess I would prefer to leave a little bit earlier and arrive in NYP before 6:23pm (I have a feeling that the next time I travel to CHI from PHL I will probably take SEPTA/NJT to NYP and then the LSL rather than use the CL). But I'm not going to fuss too much over the times. If the LSL leaves CHI three hours early as proposed it would get to CLE around 2:30am which I would say is far worse than 5:30am and it would get to BUF to before 6am. I'm not saying the shift is wrong. But if you shift a schedule, there's winners and losers.

 

Let's go to fantasy world now. If there was a BL AND a LSL, one can be a train arriving at NYP before rush hour and the other can be the "cleanup train". Or if you have a CHI-PGH-PHL-NYP on a schedule where it would arrive in PGH before midnight and arrive in PHL the next morning that could help passengers who get stranded in CHI. So if the LSL leaves at 6:30-7pm ish and you miss it, it still sucks for you. But if the CHI-PHL-NYP train leaves around noon the next day as opposed to 6:30-7, it's still six hours better than now. So either a new BL or a "Skyline" schedule that goes CHI-Ohio in reasonable hours would still make things better and help move the LSL earlier.

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FWIW, I've taken round trips through CHI repeatedly. I've been to the West Coast on the Southwest Chief at least 4 times and the California Zephyr once (another one coming up this year), Denver on the California Zephyr at least twice (they all blur together), and Minneapolis on the Empire Builder at least 3 times. And I've been to Chicago just to go to Chicago two additional times.

 

I typically end up staying overnight in Chicago going west. I generally have a specific date I have to be there on the western end, and *they don't hold the Western trains for a severely delayed LSL*. I cannot afford the risk of getting there late, so I have to schedule a night in Chicago on the outbound anyway.

 

The eastbound LSL is bringing me home. I can wait overnight if I have to. But in the normal situation when I arrive fairly early into Chicago, I would rather get out of Chicago earlier and get home earlier. I'm usually exhausted waiting for the super-late boarding of the LSL.

 

My friends take the LSL to Michigan (via Toledo or Elkhart) or Indianapolis (via Elkhart or South Bend) on a more-than-yearly basis. The current westbound schedule is... OK; the eastbound schedule is very unpleasant for them.

 

And that's before you get into the issue of getting into NY earlier than 6:30 PM -- and Boston earlier than 9 PM -- which is very valuable.

 

Here's an important point: The 6 PM LSL makes the timetable match up day and night, so that some cities have "good times" for both eastbound and westbound and others have "bad times" for both eastbound and westbound. The current situation gives a much larger number of cities one "good time" and one "bad time", and from the point of view of someone making a round trip, this is just as likely to deter them from travelling as two "bad times".

 

-----

In a world of fantasy funding, we would have a properly-scheduled LSL *and* a late "cleanup train". As long as we don't have all the funding we want, I think the LSL should be made to work for as many customers along the line as possible, not treated dismissively as "cleanup" for people coming from California.

If we had the frequencies I'd actually like, after moving the LSL into its correct and traditional earlier slot, we'd have another train (the Commodore Vanderbilt?) which looked more like this:

Westbound

depart NY 8:40 PM

depart Boston 5 PM

(nighttime through upstate New York)

depart Buffalo 5 AM

depart Cleveland 8:45 AM

arrive Chicago 2:45 PM

 

Eastbound

depart Chicago in the morning

depart Cleveland in the evening

depart Buffalo late night

(nighttime through upstate New York)

arrive New York morning AM

arrive Boston midday

 

This would serve Indiana & Ohio; or perhaps better, Michigan and Ohio.

 

If you must have a "cleanup train", the Capitol Limited is currently the best candidate for a "cleanup train" due to its poor ridership from intermediate points on the line. Of course, with the Cap/Pennsy through cars, that would change.

 

If we had real funding:

-- Restore the LSL schedule, but reroute it through Michigan (after upgrading the Toledo-Detroit track)

-- Restore the Broadway Limited on a suitable schedule which serves Pennsylvania and Indiana well -- ideally via Fort Wayne

-- Run a separate set of schedules designed to serve Ohio in daytime from all three directions

-- Convert the Capitol Limited into the "cleanup train".

 

Or if you have a CHI-PGH-PHL-NYP on a schedule where it would arrive in PGH before midnight and arrive in PHL the next morning that could help passengers who get stranded in CHI. So if the LSL leaves at 6:30-7pm ish and you miss it, it still sucks for you. But if the CHI-PHL-NYP train leaves around noon the next day as opposed to 6:30-7, it's still six hours better than now.

Or better yet if there's a morning departure from Chicago to the East Coast. Yes.

More trains spread out across the day are definitely better.

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FWIW, I've taken round trips through CHI repeatedly. I've been to the West Coast on the Southwest Chief at least 4 times and the California Zephyr once (another one coming up this year), Denver on the California Zephyr at least twice (they all blur together), and Minneapolis on the Empire Builder at least 3 times. And I've been to Chicago just to go to Chicago two additional times.

 

I typically end up staying overnight in Chicago going west. I generally have a specific date I have to be there on the western end, and *they don't hold the Western trains for a severely delayed LSL*. I cannot afford the risk of getting there late, so I have to schedule a night in Chicago on the outbound anyway.

 

The eastbound LSL is bringing me home. I can wait overnight if I have to. But in the normal situation when I arrive fairly early into Chicago, I would rather get out of Chicago earlier and get home earlier. I'm usually exhausted waiting for the super-late boarding of the LSL.

 

My friends take the LSL to Michigan (via Toledo or Elkhart) or Indianapolis (via Elkhart or South Bend) on a more-than-yearly basis. The current westbound schedule is... OK; the eastbound schedule is very unpleasant for them.

 

And that's before you get into the issue of getting into NY earlier than 6:30 PM -- and Boston earlier than 9 PM -- which is very valuable.

 

Here's an important point: The 6 PM LSL makes the timetable match up day and night, so that some cities have "good times" for both eastbound and westbound and others have "bad times" for both eastbound and westbound. The current situation gives a much larger number of cities one "good time" and one "bad time", and from the point of view of someone making a round trip, this is just as likely to deter them from travelling as two "bad times".

 

-----

In a world of fantasy funding, we would have a properly-scheduled LSL *and* a late "cleanup train". As long as we don't have all the funding we want, I think the LSL should be made to work for as many customers along the line as possible, not treated dismissively as "cleanup" for people coming from California.

If we had the frequencies I'd actually like, after moving the LSL into its correct and traditional earlier slot, we'd have another train (the Commodore Vanderbilt?) which looked more like this:

Westbound

depart NY 8:40 PM

depart Boston 5 PM

(nighttime through upstate New York)

depart Buffalo 5 AM

depart Cleveland 8:45 AM

arrive Chicago 2:45 PM

 

Eastbound

depart Chicago in the morning

depart Cleveland in the evening

depart Buffalo late night

(nighttime through upstate New York)

arrive New York morning AM

arrive Boston midday

 

This would serve Indiana & Ohio; or perhaps better, Michigan and Ohio.

 

If you must have a "cleanup train", the Capitol Limited is currently the best candidate for a "cleanup train" due to its poor ridership from intermediate points on the line. Of course, with the Cap/Pennsy through cars, that would change.

 

If we had real funding:

-- Restore the LSL schedule, but reroute it through Michigan (after upgrading the Toledo-Detroit track)

-- Restore the Broadway Limited on a suitable schedule which serves Pennsylvania and Indiana well -- ideally via Fort Wayne

-- Run a separate set of schedules designed to serve Ohio in daytime from all three directions

-- Convert the Capitol Limited into the "cleanup train".

 

Or if you have a CHI-PGH-PHL-NYP on a schedule where it would arrive in PGH before midnight and arrive in PHL the next morning that could help passengers who get stranded in CHI. So if the LSL leaves at 6:30-7pm ish and you miss it, it still sucks for you. But if the CHI-PHL-NYP train leaves around noon the next day as opposed to 6:30-7, it's still six hours better than now.

Or better yet if there's a morning departure from Chicago to the East Coast. Yes.

More trains spread out across the day are definitely better.

 

 

CHI-NYP via the Empire Route is currently close to 20 hours. I imagine CHI-NYP via the Keystone Route would be longer.

 

So if a train left CHI at 9:30am and traveled via the Empire Route it would arrive in NYP at 6:23am. Any earlier and the NYP arrival time would be horrible. I think the 6:23am doesn't work. Would you want to arrive in NYP at 6:23am?

 

The All Aboard Ohio proposal ( the train leaving 11:50am and arrive in NYP at 8:58am (Keystone Route). The train arrives in PHL at 7:08am. You'd have a little more leeway with this train but moving the train up hurts Philadelphia.

 

I don't see any early morning departure from CHI to the east coast working well. It kind of reminds me of the CHI-PHL Pennsylvanian.

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CHI-NYP via the Empire Route is currently close to 20 hours. I imagine CHI-NYP via the Keystone Route would be longer.

 

So if a train left CHI at 9:30am and traveled via the Empire Route it would arrive in NYP at 6:23am. Any earlier and the NYP arrival time would be horrible. I think the 6:23am doesn't work. Would you want to arrive in NYP at 6:23am?

Get breakfast, go to work (meetings / shopping / etc.). The only reason it's so early is to stay out of the rush hour train traffic into NY. Otherwise you could put it an hour or two later.

 

The All Aboard Ohio proposal ( the train leaving 11:50am and arrive in NYP at 8:58am (Keystone Route). The train arrives in PHL at 7:08am. You'd have a little more leeway with this train but moving the train up hurts Philadelphia.

Better timing, but it's going to be hard to convince anyone to slot a long-distance train into the rush hour at NYP.

 

And yet it's desirable to arrive before business hours. :-P

Edited by neroden

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CHI-NYP via the Empire Route is currently close to 20 hours. I imagine CHI-NYP via the Keystone Route would be longer.

 

So if a train left CHI at 9:30am and traveled via the Empire Route it would arrive in NYP at 6:23am. Any earlier and the NYP arrival time would be horrible. I think the 6:23am doesn't work. Would you want to arrive in NYP at 6:23am?

Get breakfast, go to work (meetings / shopping / etc.). The only reason it's so early is to stay out of the rush hour train traffic into NY. Otherwise you could put it an hour or two later.

 

The All Aboard Ohio proposal ( the train leaving 11:50am and arrive in NYP at 8:58am (Keystone Route). The train arrives in PHL at 7:08am. You'd have a little more leeway with this train but moving the train up hurts Philadelphia.

Better timing, but it's going to be hard to convince anyone to slot a long-distance train into the rush hour at NYP.

 

And yet it's desirable to arrive before business hours. :-P

 

 

 

 

CHI-NYP via the Empire Route is currently close to 20 hours. I imagine CHI-NYP via the Keystone Route would be longer.

 

So if a train left CHI at 9:30am and traveled via the Empire Route it would arrive in NYP at 6:23am. Any earlier and the NYP arrival time would be horrible. I think the 6:23am doesn't work. Would you want to arrive in NYP at 6:23am?

Get breakfast, go to work (meetings / shopping / etc.). The only reason it's so early is to stay out of the rush hour train traffic into NY. Otherwise you could put it an hour or two later.

 

The All Aboard Ohio proposal ( the train leaving 11:50am and arrive in NYP at 8:58am (Keystone Route). The train arrives in PHL at 7:08am. You'd have a little more leeway with this train but moving the train up hurts Philadelphia.

Better timing, but it's going to be hard to convince anyone to slot a long-distance train into the rush hour at NYP.

 

And yet it's desirable to arrive before business hours. :-P

 

 

How about arriving in NYP around 9:30am? It would leave PGH after midnight though.

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Here's part of the problem with Penn. There is a limited amount of tracks that can run to the Empire route. I believe five I could be wrong. Then there are two tunnels. You have the Hudson tubes which is two tracks total. And the east tubes which are four. NJ Transit takes up the majority of the Rush Hour slots. And a LD from the south has to compete with them and the LIRR into New York. That's the issue.

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From New Jersey, Amtrak trains are competing with NJT rush hour trains, and there are only two tubes.

 

From upstate NY, they're competing with Metro-North rush hour trains; there are three tracks but Amtrak has to cross the path of Metro-North at grade at Sputyen Duvyil.

 

In both cases the commuter railroad really doesn't want potentially-delayed Amtrak trains coming in during rush hour.

 

P.S. I've considered whether there's a way to grade-separate Sputyen Duvyil, but really, no, there isn't. Basically the only way you can schedule an Amtrak train to arrive during rush hour is if you can guarantee that it will be on time (or within, say, 2 minutes) approximately 364 days out of 365. And we're a very long way from being able to do that. :-( Sigh.

Edited by neroden

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OK, if you can't get into NYP then just terminate the train in Philadelphia. The route would be CHI-Michigan-TOL-CLE-PGH-PHL with through cars CIN-Columbus-CLE. Hey, if Amtrak can end a train in Savannah, you can't tell me you can't end a train in Philly.

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