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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?

Toledo has the largest ridership in the state.

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My theoretical route is the "Ohio Zephyr"... between Chicago and Columbus with ... stops including Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, and Dublin.

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

AAO's proposal connects Fort Wayne to Columbus via Lima ... are there advantages to routing it through Toledo?
Toledo has the largest ridership in the state.

Toledo is the biggest Ohio city with almost waking hours service, near midnight and barely dawn. The times work for Toledo-Chicago "corridor type" service. Toledo also "serves" Ann Arbor, Dearborn, and Detroit, but those folks want to go east (to go west they have Wolverines) and they aren't thinking about Columbus.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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My theoretical route is the "Ohio Zephyr"... runs between Chicago and Columbus with ... stops including Gary, Valparaiso, Warsaw, Fort Wayne, Toledo, Findlay, Marion, and Dublin.

 

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

Sorry, I'm not impressed with the All Aboard Ohio plan for the route. I got up the rail maps from the Ohio and Indiana DOTs, and it's a cumbersome route, to be kind. I guess if it was easy, it would have been tried already.

 

From the Indiana border, it looks like the route is a NOT Class 1 railroad, but a glorified shortline. Then it hands off to one or another, not very direct, CSX route to get down to Columbus. Handing off the train from one host to another to another is asking for trouble trouble trouble.

 

iirc All Aboard Ohio has 6 or 7 proposed new trains. The priorities to me seem obvious: A daily Cardinal. Upgrades to 110-mph Chicago-Ft Wayne-Toledo-Cleveland-Pittsburgh corridor service with about 8 trains a day.

 

Then tweak the PGH-CLE route to include Youngstown-Warren. Connect Ann Arbor/Dearborn/Detroit-TOL-CLE-PGH. Upgrades Cincy-Indy-CHI to 110-mph corridor service with about 8 trains a day. And the 3-Cs -- if they can get it to connect to the Cardinal and the CHI-Indy-Cincy corridor trains at Union Station in Cincinnati, and get it to go faster than 49-mph average speed -- then Cincy-Dayton-Columbus-CLE-Lake Shore Ltd route to NYC.

 

Sorry. Somehow that ranking puts 'Columbus-Ft Wayne-CHI', Detroit-TOL-Columbus-Cincy-hitch onto "Cardinal" and head for-Richmond-Norfolk' as well as 'Columbus-via rebuilt row-PGH' at the bottom of my priorities for Ohio. Not saying never, but not in the next dozen years.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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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.

 

I wasn't 100% sure which time frame you were referring to. I'd guess 7-9am and 4-6pm?

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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.

 

I wasn't 100% sure which time frame you were referring to. I'd guess 7-9am and 4-6pm?

 

Those would roughly be the so called Commission Hours. Thirdrail would be able to give more precise definition, but just perusing the timetables would suggest those to be pretty close.

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Are the Hudson river tunnels still single tracking on weekends? I left NYP on 91 on Sunday and due to a mechanical issue we left about 30 minutes late, around 11:30 AM. This was during the time the tunnel should be open for eastbounds, which was confirmed by a NJT arriving before we left and another we passed just after leaving the tunnels. Were they both open just over last weekend or are they both open every weekend now?

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Yes. Not all weekend days, but many weekend days. The timetable is built around the assumption that it is single track operation on weekends.

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Yes. Not all weekend days, but many weekend days. The timetable is built around the assumption that it is single track operation on weekends.

That makes sense. Once we got into the window for eastbound trains I figured we couldn't leave until the next westbound window. It surprised me when we suddenly started moving at 11:30. Were any frequencies reduced when the schedules were adjusted for single tracking or were the schedules simply adjusted? Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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Yes. Not all weekend days, but many weekend days. The timetable is built around the assumption that it is single track operation on weekends.

That makes sense. Once we got into the window for eastbound trains I figured we couldn't leave until the next westbound window. It surprised me when we suddenly started moving at 11:30. Were any frequencies reduced when the schedules were adjusted for single tracking or were the schedules simply adjusted?

 

There are only 8 slots per hour in each direction as I recall. Amtrak has 3 and NJT has 5. Some local adjustments can be made as needed subject to the limit of 8 per hour usually. Further adjustments can be made if needed to trade a slot from eastbound to westbound or vice versa.

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Fix what we have now. Four of five legs of my current trip were late, two many hours (7 an 11 hours). The only leg not late I was berated for requesting a disabled seat until I pulled off my leg and showed conductor. FIX it first.

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Fix what we have now. Four of five legs of my current trip were late

[and]

I was berated for requesting a disabled seat until I pulled off my leg and showed conductor.

FIX it first.

Well, that was awkward. Sorry. Props to you for getting around with a prosthetic that the conductor didn't notice.

 

+++++++++++++++++

 

Yes, let's fix customer service if we can. (I don't know how ... )

 

We need to fix the On Time Performance problem, of course.

 

The best way to improve OTP will be to continue to develop more and better corridor service.

 

Until now, service St Louis-CHI has been slow and often late. But there's been considerable Stimulus-funded investment in most of this route to support better service on the state-supported Lincoln trains. Every widened bridge, added or extended passing siding, better protected grade crossing, double-tracked segment, as well as better roadbed and rails will contribute to improved OTP (and run times) for the overlapping Texas Eagle LD train.

 

Every LD train in the national network has one or more segments where a stand-alone corridor service (like the Wolverine line) would be viable. When piggybacked on a LD route, there's a bonus benefit, it's a twofer. So St Paul-CHI, Omaha-Des Moines-Quad Cities-CHI, Cleveland-CHI, Indianapolis-CHI, and Memphis-Carbondale-CHI will boost half a dozen LD trains. Upgrades D.C.-Richmond will help the three Silver Service trains and the Auto Train. Restored service Richmond-Raleigh, cutting an hour or likely two hours out of the run, could transform the Silver Star. And ATL-Greenville-Charlotte would take the Crescent to a new level. The Sunset Ltd could share tracks with a corridor train New Orleans-Houston-San Antonio or Tucson-Maricopa (Phoenix)-L.A. at the other end. The Coast Starlight is like 5 or 6 corridors end to end from Vancouver, BC to San Diego.

 

Then we can work on restoring or adding more LD routes.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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You want to see a long wish list, how about this one?

 

https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/commentary-for-the-new-ceo-of-amtrak/

It's downright embarrassing. Get the extra equipment Amtrak needs from Europe? Run the temperamental Talgos here, there, and everywhere. No concept of equipment compatibility, no mention that the freights wish passenger trains would just go away. No sense that smart and experienced people have looked at these routes and their problems.

 

I couldn't finish it.

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You want to see a long wish list, how about this one?

 

https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/commentary-for-the-new-ceo-of-amtrak/

It's downright embarrassing. Get the extra equipment Amtrak needs from Europe? Run the temperamental Talgos here, there, and everywhere. No concept of equipment compatibility, no mention that the freights wish passenger trains would just go away. No sense that smart and experienced people have looked at these routes and their problems.

 

I couldn't finish it.

I agree. An amateur piece of railfan daydreaming. But I don't think it claimed to be anything more either.

 

Acela to GCT. Right!

 

 

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Fix what we have now. Four of five legs of my current trip were late, two many hours (7 an 11 hours). The only leg not late I was berated for requesting a disabled seat until I pulled off my leg and showed conductor. FIX it first.

 

Then we can work on restoring or adding more LD routes.

 

While I fully agree we first need to "fix" what we have now, if we wait for everything to be nearly ideal and running smoothly with the existing network, growth and expansion will never happen. There will always be problems - that doesn't mean customer service, timekeeping, and services cannot be vastly improved - just as there always has been. Planning - if not actual implementation - really needs to start alongside service enhancements; Such efforts take years (and usually longer than it should, frankly). Even if passenger rail Monday morning received the billions in annual funding to make a (realistic) vision of rail in America a reality, it would still take years; There is plenty of time to work on getting the service to the level of standards it need to achieve.

 

 

You want to see a long wish list, how about this one?

 

https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2017/09/02/commentary-for-the-new-ceo-of-amtrak/

It's downright embarrassing. Get the extra equipment Amtrak needs from Europe? Run the temperamental Talgos here, there, and everywhere. No concept of equipment compatibility, no mention that the freights wish passenger trains would just go away. No sense that smart and experienced people have looked at these routes and their problems.

 

I couldn't finish it.

 

 

The article is indeed an embarrassing fantasy; In fact, it arguably makes legitimate passenger rail advocacy (and even sincere railfans) look bad by association. He rather casually mentions getting equipment from Europe; I wonder if he has any idea at all what is actually available, even if someone really believed it could be used here (which it wouldn't).

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Restored service Richmond-Raleigh, cutting an hour or likely two hours out of the run, could transform the Silver Star.

I was at a model train show today where someone mentioned that the SM and AT will be rerouted via Raleigh once the Petersburg-Raleigh line is rebuilt. Is there any basis to that? Raleigh would have poor calling times on the SM, though Columbia would have better times than with the SS. Both cities would gain connections at WAS, although this would come at the expense of Charleston, Florence, and Fayetteville. Although this would obviously require additional funding, my preferred option would be to keep the SM on the Florence line, while adding a Palmetto-like train on the Raleigh line and slightly adjusting the SS schedule to provide a northbound connection to the CL as well as an earlier Regional connection than 66. The AT would also need a new refuelling and crew change point if it changed lines. Lastly, would the Carolinian move or not? I know NC has considered extending some of the Piedmonts to eastern NC, so could one be extended to Rocky Mount in order to reroute the Carolinian to the new line while still allowing direct service between the current Piedmont line and Selma, Wilson, and Rocky Mount? Another route that could be affected by the new line is Atlanta service. I would not advocate moving the current Crescent as service would be lost at Danville and the Cardinal connection would be severed, but any future Atlanta train will likely operate on the line. This has the potential to provide direct service from Richmond and Raleigh to Atlanta.

 

 

 

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Have discussed the problems with a couple marketing persons. They could not understand the lack of marketing that would increase ridership. When pointed out that a demand increase cannot be met due to lack of equipment they could not believe it. The eastern standard 9 car LD trains certainly need more equipment. Until Amtrak gets 300 - 400 more LD cars expanded and additional trains on routes are a pipe dream. Lets push for more equipment.

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Restored service Richmond-Raleigh, cutting an hour or likely two hours out of the run, could transform the Silver Star.

I was at a model train show today where someone mentioned that the SM and AT will be rerouted via Raleigh once the Petersburg-Raleigh line is rebuilt. Is there any basis to that? Raleigh would have poor calling times on the SM, though Columbia would have better times than with the SS. Both cities would gain connections at WAS, although this would come at the expense of Charleston, Florence, and Fayetteville. Although this would obviously require additional funding, my preferred option would be to keep the SM on the Florence line, while adding a Palmetto-like train on the Raleigh line and slightly adjusting the SS schedule to provide a northbound connection to the CL as well as an earlier Regional connection than 66. The AT would also need a new refuelling and crew change point if it changed lines. Lastly, would the Carolinian move or not? I know NC has considered extending some of the Piedmonts to eastern NC, so could one be extended to Rocky Mount in order to reroute the Carolinian to the new line while still allowing direct service between the current Piedmont line and Selma, Wilson, and Rocky Mount? Another route that could be affected by the new line is Atlanta service. I would not advocate moving the current Crescent as service would be lost at Danville and the Cardinal connection would be severed, but any future Atlanta train will likely operate on the line. This has the potential to provide direct service from Richmond and Raleigh to Atlanta.

 

 

 

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I think it is just idle speculation. Specially, I will believe the Auto Train move when I see it. It makes zero sense. I don't think the SM will move either abandoning Fayettville and Charleston. So I chalk this up as someone dreaming, absent any concrete evidence to the contrary.

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Restored service Richmond-Raleigh, cutting an hour or likely two hours out of the run, could transform the Silver Star.

I was at a model train show today where someone mentioned that the SM and AT will be rerouted via Raleigh once the Petersburg-Raleigh line is rebuilt. Is there any basis to that? Raleigh would have poor calling times on the SM, though Columbia would have better times than with the SS. Both cities would gain connections at WAS, although this would come at the expense of Charleston, Florence, and Fayetteville. Although this would obviously require additional funding, my preferred option would be to keep the SM on the Florence line, while adding a Palmetto-like train on the Raleigh line and slightly adjusting the SS schedule to provide a northbound connection to the CL as well as an earlier Regional connection than 66. The AT would also need a new refuelling and crew change point if it changed lines. Lastly, would the Carolinian move or not? I know NC has considered extending some of the Piedmonts to eastern NC, so could one be extended to Rocky Mount in order to reroute the Carolinian to the new line while still allowing direct service between the current Piedmont line and Selma, Wilson, and Rocky Mount? Another route that could be affected by the new line is Atlanta service. I would not advocate moving the current Crescent as service would be lost at Danville and the Cardinal connection would be severed, but any future Atlanta train will likely operate on the line. This has the potential to provide direct service from Richmond and Raleigh to Atlanta.

 

 

 

Sent from my SM-J327P using Amtrak Forum mobile app

 

I think it is just idle speculation. Specially, I will believe the Auto Train move when I see it. It makes zero sense. I don't think the SM will move either abandoning Fayettville and Charleston. So I chalk this up as someone dreaming, absent any concrete evidence to the contrary.

 

 

There actually is a valid source for this, though its from years ago, and I cannot immediately provide a citation. One train would have been left on the former Atlantic Coast Line route, while the others ran the (presumably now faster) S-line through Columbia. However, this was also at a time when the Silver Palm went all the way to Miami, which changes things a bit, and I agree I can't see the Meteor moving under present circumstances (admittedly, it'd be at least years before this is more than an academic discussion anyway). Nor does an Auto Train move make a lot of sense (Florence service stop), though I'm wanting to say only one train was to be left on the A-line.

 

Yes, I know we really need the source for this, rather than relying on my fading middle-age memory. I'll look when I get a chance.

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While I fully agree we first need to "fix" what we have now, if we wait for everything to be nearly ideal and running smoothly with the existing network, growth and expansion will never happen. There will always be problems - that doesn't mean customer service, timekeeping, and services cannot be vastly improved - just as there always has been. Planning - if not actual implementation - really needs to start alongside service enhancements; Such efforts take years (and usually longer than it should, frankly). Even if passenger rail Monday morning received the billions in annual funding to make a (realistic) vision of rail in America a reality, it would still take years; There is plenty of time to work on getting the service to the level of standards it need to achieve.

 

I have ridden passenger trains pretty consistently from birth. And Amtrak supporter, by riding, since a 1973 trip. I wasn't mad at being consistently late.....almost every trip...but rather I feel like something I love is dying, no one in power cares and it looks terminal.

A horrible on time record. Tracks unfit for people (not counting NE maybe). LOTS of equipment that would be past it's prime in Japan, China or Europe first class. Amtrak may outlast me but I will never see a healthy Amtrak. IMHO only.

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While I fully agree we first need to "fix" what we have now, if we wait for everything to be nearly ideal and running smoothly with the existing network, growth and expansion will never happen. There will always be problems - that doesn't mean customer service, timekeeping, and services cannot be vastly improved - just as there always has been. Planning - if not actual implementation - really needs to start alongside service enhancements; Such efforts take years (and usually longer than it should, frankly). Even if passenger rail Monday morning received the billions in annual funding to make a (realistic) vision of rail in America a reality, it would still take years; There is plenty of time to work on getting the service to the level of standards it need to achieve.

 

I have ridden passenger trains pretty consistently from birth. And Amtrak supporter, by riding, since a 1973 trip. I wasn't mad at being consistently late.....almost every trip...but rather I feel like something I love is dying, no one in power cares and it looks terminal. A horrible on time record. Tracks unfit for people (not counting NE maybe). LOTS of equipment that would be past it's prime in Japan, China or Europe first class. Amtrak may outlast me but I will never see a healthy Amtrak. IMHO only.

 

Interesting post. It's crazy to think American trains would be kicked to the curb in China at this point. Or maybe not that crazy after all. :mellow:

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Top priorities IMNSHO are rolling stock -- can't expand without it -- and South of the Lake. South of the Lake is what starts to make it possible to make Midwestern service comparable to California service; California service is good enough that serious improvements are happening and it may eventually be better than the NEC. With three regions of expanding quality corridor service, the connections between them will also benefit and be taken seriously. Service, and state track ownership, keeps expanding incrementally in all three areas, but at the moment the Chicago hub is the weak one of the three -- partly due to that delay-maker between Chicago and Porter, Indiana which messes up all the Michigan services. And the interconnections between Chicago and the NEC (the LSL and CL) aren't benefitting the way they should -- again mostly due to the giant delay-maker from Chicago to Porter Indiana.

 

The key is to get into a political virtuous cycle where improvements lead to political demands for more improvements which lead to more improvements. My sense is that every state on the NEC has this going on, even on the "branch lines", from Maine to Virginia. It's also happening in California. But it's not happening as much in Illinois/Missouri/Michigan/Indiana/Iowa/Wisconsin, though it seems to me to be very close to the threshold. Getting rid of that one bottleneck to the east would probably be enough to kickstart the political virtuous cycle, since Michigan and Illinois are the two states in the area closest to being in that cycle.

Edited by neroden

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Neuroden is correct/ To just bulk out the preset single level LD will take about 150 coaches/ Then getting the south of the lake delays fixed east from CHI is the next requirement for the mid west trains and connectivity. If 90 miles from CHI could be covered in 1:10 then it is conceivable that equipment turns could make more trips a day. There would not be many freight train delays .if first track was passenger only parallel to present tracks and then second track completely certified for 125 MPH .

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It's not a hopeful indicator that a South of the Lake site I'd bookmarked -- http://greatlakesrail.org/-- has gone dead.

 

For a couple of years it had amused me by changing only a few words on its home page ... to the effect that studies would be completed and a Record of Decision announced "by the end of the summer, by the end of the year, early next year, in about six months, by the end of the fiscal year" ... but now this.

 

And I miss the information that was unchanging. As best I recall, the plan is/was? to upgrade the route, chop the run times, and add frequencies until the Wolverines ran 8? or 9? or was it 12? times a day. Now I can't go back to check the particulars.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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