Jump to content
Philly Amtrak Fan

Expanding the Amtrak Route Map

Recommended Posts

 

the North Coast Limited would add the population centers of Montana and North Dakota.

 

I'm confused. The Sunset Limited already passes by and through multiple cities and metros that each have populations larger than all the residents of Montana and North Dakota combined. If we can't reasonably entertain a daily SL schedule then what legitimate hope do these expanded routes have? Or is this is just another random wish list thread that's not based on any reasonable criteria for practicality and suitability beyond having connecting trackage of one sort or another?

 

The service would provide an additional round trip between MSP & CHI, as well as the EB passes very little population in North Dakota and Montana, and serves Spokane at a dead hour, where the NCL would pass much more population.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

San Antonio jumped the shark a while back. Pretty sad.

 

I can't understand why we keep worrying incessantly about small parts of the country that go so far as to legislate "no passenger trains" for themselves. There is plenty of the country that actually wants passenger trains or at worst are somewhat indifferent and possibly open to persuasion. Why not concentrate on those and go for the low hanging fruits first?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

San Antonio jumped the shark a while back. Pretty sad.

 

I can't understand why we keep worrying incessantly about small parts of the country that go so far as to legislate "no passenger trains" for themselves. There is plenty of the country that actually wants passenger trains or at worst are somewhat indifferent and possibly open to persuasion. Why not concentrate on those and go for the low hanging fruits first?

 

 

I wouldn't count San Antonio as "small". You'll never get Texas or San Antonio to pay for trains but if the federal government will pay for increased intercity trains to San Antonio, why not?

 

 

 

 

the North Coast Limited would add the population centers of Montana and North Dakota.

 

I'm confused. The Sunset Limited already passes by and through multiple cities and metros that each have populations larger than all the residents of Montana and North Dakota combined. If we can't reasonably entertain a daily SL schedule then what legitimate hope do these expanded routes have? Or is this is just another random wish list thread that's not based on any reasonable criteria for practicality and suitability beyond having connecting trackage of one sort or another?

 

The service would provide an additional round trip between MSP & CHI, as well as the EB passes very little population in North Dakota and Montana, and serves Spokane at a dead hour, where the NCL would pass much more population.

 

 

Then have the NCL replace the EB. You'd still have CHI-MSP and SPK-SEA/PDX and the train would go through more populous regions. Or have a split schedule where it takes the EB route 4 days/week and the NCL 3 days/week so both will have service and the important parts of the routes (CHI-MSP and SPK-SEA/PDX) will have daily service.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Fellas, C-mon. We can make a much bigger list than this!

 

Baton Rouge-New Orleans

Beaumont-Houston

San Antonio-Houston

a second daily train San Antonio-Houston-Lafayette-New Orleans (complementing the Sunset Shuttle route coming when the Sunset Ltd goes daily and combines with the Texas Eagle CHI-SAS-L.A., so one morning and one evening run each way)

New Orleans-Baton Rouge-Alexandria-Shreveport-Dallas-Ft Worth

 

 

 

If you're doing all this Texas stuff. How about Dallas - Ft Worth - Abilene - Midland -Odessa - Pecos - El Paso?

 

 

Is this the route discussed in this article? https://ntbraymer.wordpress.com/2016/12/02/back-to-the-future-of-amtraks-long-distance-trains/ (See the paragraph beginning with "Now let’s look back, to the future")

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

San Antonio jumped the shark a while back. Pretty sad.

I can't understand why we keep worrying incessantly about small parts of the country that go so far as to legislate "no passenger trains" for themselves. There is plenty of the country that actually wants passenger trains or at worst are somewhat indifferent and possibly open to persuasion. Why not concentrate on those and go for the low hanging fruits first?

I wouldn't count San Antonio as "small". You'll never get Texas or San Antonio to pay for trains but if the federal government will pay for increased intercity trains to San Antonio, why not?

 

 

 

the North Coast Limited would add the population centers of Montana and North Dakota.

I'm confused. The Sunset Limited already passes by and through multiple cities and metros that each have populations larger than all the residents of Montana and North Dakota combined. If we can't reasonably entertain a daily SL schedule then what legitimate hope do these expanded routes have? Or is this is just another random wish list thread that's not based on any reasonable criteria for practicality and suitability beyond having connecting trackage of one sort or another?

The service would provide an additional round trip between MSP & CHI, as well as the EB passes very little population in North Dakota and Montana, and serves Spokane at a dead hour, where the NCL would pass much more population.

Then have the NCL replace the EB. You'd still have CHI-MSP and SPK-SEA/PDX and the train would go through more populous regions. Or have a split schedule where it takes the EB route 4 days/week and the NCL 3 days/week so both will have service and the important parts of the routes (CHI-MSP and SPK-SEA/PDX) will have daily service.

The reason the EB is important in between spk and msp is that there isn't a parallel interstate highway for 150 miles + for much of that distance, there are no bus services along the route, and there are few commercial flights, all of which go north south, and all of them in the plains are EAS flights.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The reason the EB is important in between spk and msp is that there isn't a parallel interstate highway for 150 miles + for much of that distance, there are no bus services along the route, and there are few commercial flights, all of which go north south, and all of them in the plains are EAS flights.

 

That's the reason the Empire Builder is important? Because a relatively tiny number of antisocial people chose to live along a 150 mile stretch of nothing? The subsidized flights the rest of us are funding aren't good enough because they happen to travel N/S? #RuralLogic

 

EAS_chart.png

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

The reason the EB is important in between spk and msp is that there isn't a parallel interstate highway for 150 miles + for much of that distance, there are no bus services along the route, and there are few commercial flights, all of which go north south, and all of them in the plains are EAS flights.

That's the reason the Empire Builder is important? Because a relatively tiny number of antisocial people chose to live along a 150 mile stretch of nothing? The subsidized flights the rest of us are funding aren't good enough because they happen to travel N/S? #RuralLogic

 

EAS_chart.png

Might I refer you to the Culbertson, MT thread and the report released today?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The point is that the lack of expressway and overpriced airline service makes the northern tier of North Dakota and Montana a *captive market* for Amtrak and as such significantly more profitable than a non-captive market.

 

I'm all for a daily Sunset Limited -- and Cardinal -- I think less than daily is ridiculous and needs to end -- but it'll still cost more than the Empire Builder.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it's pertinent to this thread, but I would like to see the Sunset Limited route restored between New Orleans and Orlando, like it was prior to Hurricane Katrina. Then you'd have the connection to the Silver Meteor or Silver Star like before.

 

Which reminds me; why is there so much political upheaval with regard to restored Gulf Coast service?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Which reminds me; why is there so much political upheaval with regard to restored Gulf Coast service?

IMO it is lack of funds for expansion, lack of equipment, & most important serving an area that does not have a high density population.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure if it's pertinent to this thread, but I would like to see the Sunset Limited route restored between New Orleans and Orlando, like it was prior to Hurricane Katrina. Then you'd have the connection to the Silver Meteor or Silver Star like before.

 

Which reminds me; why is there so much political upheaval with regard to restored Gulf Coast service?

The Sunset Limited will not be extended to Orlando. There will either be a separate self standing train between New Orleans and Orlando or the CONO will be extended from New Orleans to Orlando. Both of those proposals gives a daily train which is an absolute requirement stated by the Souther Rail Commission. Sunset extension cannot provide that, in addition to toher issues that makes it less desirable operationally.

 

Gulf Coast Service is going to be restored as a result of said political upheaval which has been orchestrated by some Congresspeople and Senators from the area and pushed aggressively by the likes of NARP. It will happen only if local funding is found to match federal funding to set up the supporting infrastructure and then for the operating subsidies.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Not sure if it's pertinent to this thread, but I would like to see the Sunset Limited route restored between New Orleans and Orlando, like it was prior to Hurricane Katrina. Then you'd have the connection to the Silver Meteor or Silver Star like before.

 

Which reminds me; why is there so much political upheaval with regard to restored Gulf Coast service?

The Sunset Limited will not be extended to Orlando. There will either be a separate self standing train between New Orleans and Orlando or the CONO will be extended from New Orleans to Orlando. Both of those proposals gives a daily train which is an absolute requirement stated by the Souther Rail Commission. Sunset extension cannot provide that, in addition to toher issues that makes it less desirable operationally.

 

Gulf Coast Service is going to be restored as a result of said political upheaval which has been orchestrated by some Congresspeople and Senators from the area and pushed aggressively by the likes of NARP. It will happen only if local funding is found to match federal funding to set up the supporting infrastructure and then for the operating subsidies.

 

 

 

 

Thanks for the info, that makes a lot of sense.

Edited by LookingGlassTie

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read this and weep. Its a sorry testament to how the USA views passenger rail. If we have any chance of seeing some of these lost routes restored; the mentality in congress and of the American people must change This list will bring back fond memories for some of the older members. It must have been great back in the day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Former_Amtrak_routes

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Read this and weep. Its a sorry testament to how the USA views passenger rail. If we have any chance of seeing some of these lost routes restored; the mentality in congress and of the American people must change This list will bring back fond memories for some of the older members. It must have been great back in the day.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Former_Amtrak_routes

 

How does a Wikipedia list of former Amtrak routes reflect American attitudes toward passenger rail? Amtrak has traditionally enjoyed far greater support at a grass-roots level than in the halls of Congress, where ideology and politics drive anti-rail legislation and limit progress. A mere list of train discontinuances doesn't tell you a thing about what people really think, the level of support for rail, or - indeed - anything about why a particular train was dropped. Anyone want to argue Honda or Ford are not successful companies? They've got a very long list of discontinued models.

 

Regardless, that list doesn't just show actual route and service cuts, but also train identity and branding changes. The Ann Rutledge, Merchants Limited, Metroliner, and San Diegans are all among services that survive, in generally improved and superior form. They are really nothing to weep over. Granted, there have been too many inadvisable and mistaken actual train and route cuts over the years - often politically motivated - but that doesn't necessarily reflect how the nation views passenger rail either. More accurately, it reflects the "horse trading' of politics between passenger rail supporters and those who are ideologically opposed to anything which requires a subsidy (by their own definition of subsidy, of course).

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite what this poster thought it appears that NOL <> ORL service is moving toward restart. Appears some Republican congress critters are pushing it as well. What will be needed IMO is some additional funds in a supplemental appropriation shortly after Jan 20th. That money can be used for rebuilding some wreck damaged cars and rebuilding some out of service locos. As well any station building / restorations and any track improvements required including any PTC items.

Would expect it will take 12 - 18 months at minimum after full approval.

Depending on how the schedule is compiled to / from NOL the rebuilds may require additional cars on CNO and / or Sunset. If the highly unlikely daily Sunset happens then as well some cars and locos for that expansion.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think it would be a lot better if they bought new cars and locos. They're badly needed. We can't rebuild wrecks from the 1970s forever.

 

Amtrak currently has an option on Charger locos which seem to be quite nice. The thing to do would be to jump on that option. The Southern Rail Commission could buy and own a couple of locomotives. If they get through the "study phase" fast enough and get real funding.

 

If the problems with the Kinki Sharyo bilevel order are resolved, a few cars could be bought as options on that order, again probably by the Southern Rail Commission.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Despite what this poster thought it appears that NOL <> ORL service is moving toward restart. Appears some Republican congress critters are pushing it as well. What will be needed IMO is some additional funds in a supplemental appropriation shortly after Jan 20th. That money can be used for rebuilding some wreck damaged cars and rebuilding some out of service locos. As well any station building / restorations and any track improvements required including any PTC items.

Would expect it will take 12 - 18 months at minimum after full approval.

Depending on how the schedule is compiled to / from NOL the rebuilds may require additional cars on CNO and / or Sunset. If the highly unlikely daily Sunset happens then as well some cars and locos for that expansion.

 

Amtrak has already stated they have sufficient equipment for the City of New Orleans extension to Orlando, so no additional wreck rebuilds (beyond any already budgeted/planned) are necessary before this service can be launched. A much bigger problem are the demands of CSX, though I think its a safe assumption those numbers are something of a bargaining position.

 

In addition, if Nippon-Sharyo actually manages to deliver a finished car within our lifetimes (apparently, additional delays this month), this will free up Horizon cars for use elsewhere. Spare locomotives, badly needed by chronically power short Amtrak, will also be released by the Siemens Chargers bought by the states and which should be in service in the coming months.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disagree about spare cars. It may be in slack times there are spares but the last Thanksgiving- new Years period had every available car in service. Granted some were down for weather problems but would have been in service if available. Can you cite anywhere there are enough cars? When was the last time Amtrak said it did have cars ?.

Amtrak can easily get cars on a short term basis but for 24 - 365 service it is a different item.

Edited by west point

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

. . . it appears that NOL <> ORL service is moving toward restart. . . . some Republican congress critters are pushing it as well.

 

. . . if Nippon Sharyo actually manages to deliver a finished car within our lifetimes (apparently, additional delays this month) . . .

Well, that's not a little (parenthetical) aside. LOL. Do you have more details and/or a link?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

. . . it appears that NOL <> ORL service is moving toward restart. . . . some Republican congress critters are pushing it as well.

 

. . . if Nippon Sharyo actually manages to deliver a finished car within our lifetimes (apparently, additional delays this month) . . .

Well, that's not a little (parenthetical) aside. LOL. Do you have more details and/or a link?

 

 

Report from the December 6th meeting of the NGEC Executive Board states the Final Design Review scheduled for this month (january 2017) will be postponed until sometime in the Spring. Some sources are a bit more negative. However, Nippon-Sharyo is also reported to be rehiring laid-off workers - for Caltrans work in the 4th quarter of 2017.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

 

 

. . . it appears that NOL <> ORL service is moving toward restart. . . . some Republican congress critters are pushing it as well.

. . . if Nippon Sharyo actually manages to deliver a finished car within our lifetimes (apparently, additional delays this month) . . .

Well, that's not a little (parenthetical) aside. LOL. Do you have more details and/or a link?

Report from the December 6th meeting of the NGEC Executive Board states the Final Design Review scheduled for this month (January 2017) will be postponed until sometime in the Spring. . . .

Thanks. I'd druther know than not know.

 

By the calendar, Spring will start the last week of March, continue thru most of June. Oy vey.

 

But what do I know. I'm still trying to figure out what 'they' mean by Winter 2017. Are we currently in Winter 2017? Or will we meet Winter '17 at the solstice next December? LOL.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What is puzzling is why both the Amtrak haters and supporters have not each called especially CAF but also Nippon (NS) to the halls of congress explain why they are wasting taxpayer's money ?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There may be a very untapped service that stumbled across. The SOU RR ran the Royal Palm Cincinnati <> JAX as part of trains Midwest <> MIA. Note the sleepers on the schedule CHI -2, Detroit - 5, BUffalo - 1, Cleveland - 1, Cincinnati - 1, And then coaches as well. Note how much of an express the schedule has so few stops. Suspect there were servicing stops and crew change stops. Train would be at least 16 cars and maybe more ? Wonder if it often ran in 2 sections ?

 

http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/concourse/track2/newroyalpalm195103.html

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What's the state of, ownership of, and traffic status of the Cincinnati-Lexington-Chattanooga-Atlanta tracks?

 

Wait... I know that route. That's the Cincinnati Southern. It's owned outright by the city of Cincinnati. Leased to Norfolk Southern.

 

Yes, it might be possible to get passenger service on that route. With sufficient support from Cincy and from Chattanooga, it seems very possible. Unfortunately I think a good result there depends on doing one of the following:

(1) Getting better service from Cincy to the north, or

(2) Getting a new station in Atlanta.

Needs better connections / anchors on at least one end than it currently has.

Edited by neroden

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×