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Wish List for Amtrak/Train Service Expansions

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Did we miss the Crescent Star?

 

 

Someone in Amtrak is thinking about it ...

 

http://news.wabe.org/post/amtrak-considering-one-new-and-one-old-southern-route

 

This is one that has a couple of strong individuals, Senators and Congressmen batting for it. Talked to one while I was on the Hill with the NARP folks the other week.

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It's been a while since I've entertained the idea of any long distance expansion projects. Now I simply hope for continued service and perhaps some better scheduling of the routes which still exist. At this point if we don't lose any more long distance routes that would be an amazing an unexpected success in my book.

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It's been a while since I've entertained the idea of any long distance expansion projects. Now I simply hope for continued service and perhaps some better scheduling of the routes which still exist. At this point if we don't lose any more long distance routes that would be an amazing an unexpected success in my book.

 

Probably why my initial inclination was to list corridor expansions/improvements and Thruway connections, rather than anything related to long-distance trains.

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Did we miss the Crescent Star?

 

Someone in Amtrak is thinking about it ...

 

http://news.wabe.org/post/amtrak-considering-one-new-and-one-old-southern-route

 

Admit it. Just too far to be a day train, Atlanta-Dallas.

 

Starting with the current Crescent in ATL at 8:30 a.m. It is scheduled to arrive in Meridian at 3 pm Central (4 p.m. Eastern), so, 7 hrs 30 min later. Then another 7 hrs (taken from the Thruway Bus schedule) gets it into Shreveport about 10 p.m. and into Dallas at 3:40 a.m. Not viable for the Big D.

 

Starting with the fabled Atlanta day train, leave ATL around 9 pm. Then 7 hrs 30 min passing thru Anniston (116,000 metro), Birmingham (1,146,000 metro), Tuscaloosa (240,000), and Meridian (105,000) in the dark of night. Then another 1 hr 30 min or so to Jackson, MS (579,000 metro) for a 6ish arrival time. Then daylight thru small cities -- Vicksburg (57,000)-Monroe (179,000)-Ruston (48,000 LA Tech U)-Shreveport (444,000 riverboat gambling)-Marshall (67,000)-Longview (218,000)-Dallas-Ft Worth -- to arrive in Dallas in the evening, 7ish, and Ft Worth 8ish. Worth doing.

 

I'm always skeptical of long Long Distance trains, with big anchors at the end but too thin in the middle. Like the Southwest Chief CHI-L.A., supported, barely, by "intermediate destinations" Kansas City and Albuquerque, but dust bowl desert empty aside from that. And end-to-end passengers comprise less than 15% of the total ridership.

 

This Meridian Speedway route has big anchors, ATL-DAL. But how we gonna fill this train, if only 15% of the riders going between the anchor cities? After all, the trip will take all night and all day.

 

Suppose we don't get many riders from Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Meridian due to their dark-of-night service. (Their total pop. is 1.6 million, so we'll get some riders.) But adding up those small-city figures from Jackson thru Longview, well, 1.5 million looks like a population base to work with.

 

As a bonus, the route would create the beginning of a corridor Ft Worth-Dallas-Longview/ Shreveport, because the Texas Eagle already uses the tracks Dallas-Longview/and offers a Thruway bus for the 62 miles to the riverboat casinos in Shreveport. Then to the two LDs, add a corridor train over the 220 miles Ft Worth-Shreveport and it's a strong start.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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Did we miss the Crescent Star?

 

Someone in Amtrak is thinking about it ...

 

http://news.wabe.org/post/amtrak-considering-one-new-and-one-old-southern-route

 

Admit it. Just too far to be a day train, Atlanta-Dallas.

 

Starting with the current Crescent in ATL at 8:30 a.m. It is scheduled to arrive in Meridian at 3 pm Central (4 p.m. Eastern), so, 7 hrs 30 min later. Then another 7 hrs (taken from the Thruway Bus schedule) gets it into Shreveport about 10 p.m. and into Dallas at 3:40 a.m. Not viable for the Big D.

 

Starting with the fabled Atlanta day train, leave ATL around 9 pm. Then 7 hrs 30 min passing thru Anniston (116,000 metro), Birmingham (1,146,000 metro), Tuscaloosa (240,000), and Meridian (105,000) in the dark of night. Then another 1 hr 30 min or so to Jackson, MS (579,000 metro) for a 6ish arrival time. Then daylight thru small cities -- Vicksburg (57,000)-Monroe (179,000)-Ruston (48,000 LA Tech U)-Shreveport (444,000 riverboat gambling)-Marshall (67,000)-Longview (218,000)-Dallas-Ft Worth -- to arrive in Dallas in the evening, 7ish, and Ft Worth 8ish. Worth doing.

 

I'm always skeptical of long Long Distance trains, with big anchors at the end but too thin in the middle. Like the Southwest Chief CHI-L.A., supported, barely, by "intermediate destinations" Kansas City and Albuquerque, but dust bowl desert empty aside from that. And end-to-end passengers comprise less than 15% of the total ridership.

 

This Meridian Speedway route has big anchors, ATL-DAL. But how we gonna fill this train, if only 15% of the riders going between the anchor cities? After all, the trip will take all night and all day.

 

Suppose we don't get many riders from Anniston, Birmingham, Tuscaloosa, and Meridian due to their dark-of-night service. (Their total pop. is 1.6 million, so we'll get some riders.) But adding up those small-city figures from Jackson thru Longview, well, 1.5 million looks like a population base to work with.

 

As a bonus, the route would create the beginning of a corridor Ft Worth-Dallas-Longview/ Shreveport, because the Texas Eagle already uses the tracks Dallas-Longview/and offers a Thruway bus for the 62 miles to the riverboat casinos in Shreveport. Then to the two LDs, add a corridor train over the 220 miles Ft Worth-Shreveport and it's a strong start.

 

 

With the schedule you propose Woody customers from the NEC will have to spend almost all day in Atlanta to wait for this train. Could we have it leave Atlanta earlier in the day and arrive in Dallas earlier?

 

The biggest intermediate markets you said were Birmingham, Jackson, and Shreveport. I'd probably want to leave Birmingham before midnight and arrive in Shreveport early in the morning and Jackson gets the graveyard shift (around 1/2 the population of Birmingham). I can't think of a schedule that doesn't leave one of them overnight.

 

If we shift 19/819 back 7 hours:

 

ATL 3:38pm, Birmingham 6:50/7:08pm, Jackson 1:35/2:25am, Shreveport 6:50/7:30am, DAL 10:40am.

 

This way the train arrives in Dallas earlier than the TE and might convince some NEC passengers to take this route as opposed to CHI (especially PHL and BAL).

 

Shift 8220/20 up 7 hours:

 

DAL 3:45pm, Shreveport 7:50/8:20pm, Jackson 12:00/12:50am, Birmingham 7:15/7:24am, ATL 12:35pm

 

Would 3 hrs in ATL and 5 hrs in DAL be enough to turn around the train same day? We can probably save an hour in Meridian each way (currently a 2 hr layover between the Crescent and the bus). You could then leave ATL an hour later and leave DAL an hour later so the turnaround would be 6 hours in DAL and 4 hours in ATL. Or leave DAL at 3:45pm and arrive in ATL at 11:35am so it's 5 hrs each way.

 

Edit: If the train can get to Longview by 8:40am it can catch the 6021 to Houston giving two trains that can feed that Thruway Bus. 6022 arrives in Longview at 5:40pm.

 

Shreveport to Longview by Thruway bus is 1 hr 30 min. So the train would have to leave Shreveport before 7:30am to get to Longview in time. My scheduled train would leave DAL shortly after the TE would so it should leave Longview in enough time to receive passengers from 6022.

Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan

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How about through cars from the Capitol to Detroit/Ann Arbor? I sure hate having to get up early to get off in Toledo and wait for the Ambus.

Ditto from the LSL. Actually, even a connecting train would be prefereable to waiting the Ambus.

The advantage of through cars is that you could keep sleeping at the godawful hours that the westbound trains come through Toledo.

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How about through cars from the Capitol to Detroit/Ann Arbor? I sure hate having to get up early to get off in Toledo and wait for the Ambus.

Ditto from the LSL. Actually, even a connecting train would be prefereable to waiting the Ambus.

The advantage of through cars is that you could keep sleeping at the godawful hours that the westbound trains come through Toledo.

 

 

Same reason through cars are needed from the CL in PGH to the Pennsylvanian. Or better yet, a separate train that can go from CHI through Michigan to CLE-PGH-PHL-NYP as All Aboard Ohio proposes. Kill two birds with one stone. Pittsburgh and Toledo have to be two of the worst required transfers in the entire Amtrak system. What other cities require transfers during the graveyard shift?

Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan

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Well, the just-started Thruway connection at Newton KS (to/from Wichita and Oklahoma City) is a connection around 3:00am. Flagstaff (to/from Phoenix) and Williams Junction AZ (in at least one direction) would probably count as well.

 

Guess we could just look at each LD train schedule and see what others there are.

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There used to be the Lake Cities for that purpose.

 

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19941030n&item=0021

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19941030n&item=0019

 

Instead of turning north to Pontiac it went south to Toledo and passengers could transfer to the LSL (the eastbound 352 missed the CL and the westbound 351 arrived about 5 hrs before the CL). It looked like 56 miles and 1:40 each way. The train is marked with Conrail tracks, who owns that track now?

Norfolk Southern, except for the northern end which is actually still Conrail (now a joint venture between NS and CSX -- so much for competition). It's mostly NS-dispatched.

 

It's an interesting situation; a pair of NS/Conrail tracks are sandwiched between a CN track to the west and a CN track to the east.

 

http://knorek.com/RR/SAA/SAAIndex.htm

 

Ideally Michigan and/or Toledo could purchase the affected tracks from CP West Detroit to Toledo, but it might be possible to just cut a deal with NS.

Edited by neroden

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There used to be the Lake Cities for that purpose.

 

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19941030n&item=0021

http://www.timetables.org/full.php?group=19941030n&item=0019

 

Instead of turning north to Pontiac it went south to Toledo and passengers could transfer to the LSL (the eastbound 352 missed the CL and the westbound 351 arrived about 5 hrs before the CL). It looked like 56 miles and 1:40 each way. The train is marked with Conrail tracks, who owns that track now?

Norfolk Southern, except for the northern end which is actually still Conrail (now a joint venture between NS and CSX -- so much for competition). It's mostly NS-dispatched.

 

It's an interesting situation; a pair of NS/Conrail tracks are sandwiched between a CN track to the west and a CN track to the east.

 

http://knorek.com/RR/SAA/SAAIndex.htm

 

Ideally Michigan and/or Toledo could purchase the affected tracks from CP West Detroit to Toledo, but it might be possible to just cut a deal with NS.

 

 

So let's say we can get a third CHI-NEC train that completes its run within 24 hours (I'll call it the Philly train). We go to NS and say would you rather we run the Philly train on your tracks between Porter and TOL (TOL to South Bend is 150 miles already) along with the LSL and CL or run the Philly train on your tracks between DET and TOL (56 miles)?

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So let's say we can get a third CHI-NEC train that completes its run within 24 hours (I'll call it the Philly train). We go to NS and say would you rather we run the Philly train on your tracks between Porter and TOL (TOL to South Bend is 150 miles already) along with the LSL and CL or run the Philly train on your tracks between DET and TOL (56 miles)?

If this was being asked for as a third train, I can make an educated guess regarding the response -- NS says "FFS, before you run any more trains, please do something about the bottleneck from Porter to Chicago". :-)

(Can we get South of the Lake funded?)

 

If the request was to swap one of the trains (LSL or CL) onto the Michigan route, I suspect NS would be happy to do it.

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As much as this poster wants more ATL service it will not happen until 2 ATL projects are finished neither which has even started.

1. A new ATL station that is off the NS main so not to tie up the main for another 1-1/4 to 1-1/2 hours each way. Three hours a day now is too much.

2. IF any station located near or east of the present ATL station the Howell(s) CP rebuilt with a flyover. Just the other day the northbound Crescent took a 3 hour delay there going from Anniston - ATL. It happens too often to count.

Edited by west point

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I thought you were going to list the new Hudson Tunnels and the new Potomac Long Bridge!

 

iiuc They are both about maxed out with no additional slots for added trains.

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Hudson tunnels have no additional slots only in the rush direction during two morning and two afternoon hours. Other than that there are plenty of slots to be had.

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I'd say first thing is switch a lot of the current Thruway services to rail where possible. Then a direct higher speed Chicago-Minneapolis train via Rockford, Dubuque and Rochester (a route which once had a dozen trains and today a paltry one) along with more service in Wisconsin, i.e. Milwaukee-Green Bay, Milwaukee-Madison, etc.

 

Obviously, my wish list is Chicagocentric, hence: service to Toronto, Quad Cities, Rockford, Des Moines, Louisville and the Ohio cities.

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One thought about adding / restoring service. For both single level and Superliners how many cars are repairable at Beech Grove ? Second what is the cost of each restoration ?. What is the time line for repairing each of the cars ?'

Same metrics for the additional P-40 -42s needed that are on the dead line at Beech. The loco situation appears to be a function of lack of loco trucks. Every performance report for last 12 months states that spare replacement trucks are not available and trucks are replaced as soon as a spare gets to Beech

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Good Morning,

 

I just thought I'd post a thread where people can post theoretical routes for Amtrak (without a quick shutdown of "there is no money"). Just a place for dreamers to dream, I guess, but also where there can be serious conversation.

 

My theoretical route is called the "Ohio Zephyr"

 

It runs between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, with intermediate stops. Major stops include Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Dublin, and Columbus.

 

Thoughts?

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Good Morning,

 

I just thought I'd post a thread where people can post theoretical routes for Amtrak (without a quick shutdown of "there is no money"). Just a place for dreamers to dream, I guess, but also where there can be serious conversation.

 

My theoretical route is called the "Ohio Zephyr"

 

It runs between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, with intermediate stops. Major stops include Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Dublin, and Columbus.

 

Thoughts?

 

 

My thought is what is the difference between this thread you've created and the Wish List for Amtrak/Train Service Expansions, started by PhillyAmtrakFan in the "Amtrak’s Future: Member Ideas and Discussion:Discuss future ideas, proposals, and discussion about Amtrak's future forum". , where some of us have posted our ideas already?

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Thirdrail7 is correct this thread needs to be moved and combined.

Moderator Note: The topics have been merged.

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Good Morning,

 

I just thought I'd post a thread where people can post theoretical routes for Amtrak (without a quick shutdown of "there is no money"). Just a place for dreamers to dream, I guess, but also where there can be serious conversation.

 

My theoretical route is called the "Ohio Zephyr"

 

It runs between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, with intermediate stops. Major stops include Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Dublin, and Columbus.

 

Thoughts?

 

All Aboard Ohio has a proposal for it: http://freepdfhosting.com/cf26514bc8.pdf

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Good Morning,

 

I just thought I'd post a thread where people can post theoretical routes for Amtrak (without a quick shutdown of "there is no money"). Just a place for dreamers to dream, I guess, but also where there can be serious conversation.

 

My theoretical route is called the "Ohio Zephyr"

 

It runs between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, with intermediate stops. Major stops include Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Dublin, and Columbus.

 

Thoughts?

All Aboard Ohio has a proposal for it: http://freepdfhosting.com/cf26514bc8.pdf

I will be going to their meeting in a few weeks.

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My theoretical route is called the "Ohio Zephyr"

 

It runs between Chicago, IL and Columbus, OH, with intermediate stops. Major stops include Chicago, Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, Dublin, and Columbus.

 

Thoughts?

 

All Aboard Ohio has a proposal for it: http://freepdfhosting.com/cf26514bc8.pdf

 

 

AAO's proposal connects Fort Wayne to Columbus via Lima, which is shorter and seems more straightforward. Other than making it more convenient for you to ride (nothing wrong with that if you're dreaming), are there advantages to routing it through Toledo?

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