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First train leaves Roanoke (10/31/17)

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Right, people on various websites want to extend this train all the way through the south ...

The Lynchburger has been a success, let it remain a success.

... the huge advantage for Roanoke is not the long-distance possibilities, but the new availability of a day return to DC, or a overnight / weekend trip to Philadelphia, NYC, Boston, etc.

 

Which other large cities might be contenders for such additional service?

Is a "Bristol train" into the South such a difficult concept?

 

It's not either/or. It's both/and. It's for a "Bristol train" extending Knoxville-Chattanooga-points south.

 

Is anyone advocating an LD train instead of an Amtrak Virginia train extending Regional equipment south from D.C.?

 

Extending a Regional beyond Lynchburg and Roanoke should be only a first step toward Knoxville and Chattanooga.

 

Well, arguably, the extension to Roanoke is the first step. Extending to Bristol for a few years would be the next step.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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Right, people on various websites want to extend this train all the way through the south ...

The Lynchburger has been a success, let it remain a success.

there are still many possibilities for quick wins. cities close to the Northeast Corridor ... which could relatively easily be added to the network like Roanoke, by extending existing Northeast Regional service.

 

Which other large cities might be contenders for such additional service?

Contenders for added service are Norfolk, Richmond, and Lynchburg. Virginia has announced plans for two more trains to Norfolk and a Lynchburg end-point train since the existing Lynchburger has just become the Roanoker.

 

The possibilities for still more such service is not limited by a shortage of destinations. The shortage is that there exist only so many Regional train sets to extend, and iirc, with the currently announced plans, they've been used up.

 

With all the low-hanging fruit plucked and devoured, we'll need to be thinking outside the Virginia Regional box.

 

More long day train routes like the Carolinian and the Palmetto might work. The fabled "day train to Atlanta" for sure. Then D.C.-Charlotte-Columbia-Savannah perhaps? Or potentially D.C.-Charlottesville-Charleston/Huntington WV? That's looking a long long way down the tracks. We'd need more money, more equipment, more host railroad agreements etc.

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I think if TN wanted a state sponsored train it would be something to Nashville. Granted could run a palmetto like train Chat-Knox-Bristol-RNK-NYP. Should be a long day but doable.

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Well there isn't a mainline from Bristol to Nashville but sure turn it West at Chattanooga and head to Nashville and even Memphis!

I think Chattanooga would be pretty much the outside limit of a day train from the Northeast though.

 

 

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Based on the current times for NER 171, its arrival time at Bristol (about 151 miles from RNK) would be about 0135hrs or 1:35am. Would that tend to inhibit riders from going to Bristol?

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Well there isn't a mainline from Bristol to Nashville but sure turn it West at Chattanooga and head to Nashville and even Memphis!

I think Chattanooga would be pretty much the outside limit of a day train from the Northeast though.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

Based on the current times for NER 171, its arrival time at Bristol (about 151 miles from RNK) would be about 0135hrs or 1:35am. Would that tend to inhibit riders from going to Bristol?

What I think would make the most sense is to have the current Regional continue to run a Boston to Roanoke route and add a Palmetto-style train that runs a full day schedule and only continues as far north as New York. If it ran as far south as Chattanooga, it could probably make the full run in about 17 hours, meaning a 6 AM departure from Chattanooga could arrive New York at approximately 11 PM. If a new station could be built in Atlanta and the schedule could be sped up slightly, an Atlanta extension could make sense. If the trip could be made in 18 hours, even a 5:30 AM-11:30 PM train would likely have high ridership with such a large city as Atlanta .

 

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Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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They can't keep extending trains indefinitely. The only reason VA service works is because they just take trainsets that would be sitting in DC overnight and send them to Richmond or points beyond, but you can only do that for so long. ... They've done wonderful work with this model, but it doesn't have much further it can be pushed.

Not thinking that Bristol-Knoxville-Chattanooga-Birmingham would be modeled on the Amtrak Virginia trains. That's a different thing.

 

This "Bristol train" would have to be modeled on the Crescent or the Lake Shore Ltd. Ya know? A long distance train, with sleepers, and passengers sleeping between Roanoke and Knoxville, and right thru Bristol, like they used to do. LOL.

 

Also not thinking it will be soon. It will take time, money, equipment, host railroad agreement etc. But it might come as soon as a revived Broadway Ltd.

 

 

 

Is anyone in authority actually talking about a revived Broadway Ltd? Or even a revived Three Rivers? Would be great! But is this more than a fantasy?

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No. The only thing that has been talked about with any remote semblance of seriousness is the through cars from the Pennsylvanian to the Cap. The rest is all different levels of frothing as far as I can tell.

 

Similarly, no one has talked seriously about anything beyond Bristol AFAICT.

 

 

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Based on the current times for NER 171, its arrival time at Bristol (about 151 miles from RNK) would be about 0135hrs or 1:35am. Would that tend to inhibit riders from going to Bristol?

It certainly would...although it would still get a handful of rider's, being the only choice.

A nicer solution would be to have the current schedule stand as it is, and add a new trip in the future that would serve the NEC overnite, perhaps, and then be a day train across Virginia, and into Tennessee

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Based on the current times for NER 171, its arrival time at Bristol ... would be about 1:35am. Would that tend to inhibit riders from going to Bristol?

It certainly would...although it would still get a handful of riders, being the only choice.

A SB "Bristol train" would arrive in Knoxville around 6 a.m. and in Chattanooga by lunchtime. Very good times.

 

Folks in Bristol know the necessary schedule from the days of the Southern RR. They know the dark of night stop is inevitable. Dark of night or no stop at all? Simple choice.

 

Likewise folks in Knoxville and Chattanooga can grasp the concept that there has to be an overnight segment coming from or going to the Northeast. An overnight train or no train at all? Simple choice.

 

And of course the population of Knoxville is about three times, 3 X, that of Bristol.

 

Maybe I shouldn't call it a "Bristol train" because it's not.

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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no one has talked seriously about anything beyond Bristol AFAICT.

 

A small town Tennessee newspaper reported that officials from Virginia came and talked to local leaders about a future train such as we are discussing. Emphasis on "future". Part of this vision of the future included another train, Louisville-Lexington-Knoxville-Chattanooga-Atlanta; the overlapping segment in Tennessee could begin corridor type service.

 

I'm glad to think someone has been thinking ambitiously about the future. I could imagine a crisis, for instance, a nuclear temper tantrum in the Persian Gulf, or massive unemployment in another depression. That could have Congress throwing money at passenger rail projects. Would be nice if some plans were sort of "shovel ready" in such an emergency.

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No. The only thing that has been talked about with any remote semblance of seriousness is the through cars from the Pennsylvanian to the Cap. The rest is all different levels of frothing as far as I can tell.

 

Similarly, no one has talked seriously about anything beyond Bristol AFAICT.

 

 

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That's what I thought. Dreamers can dream tho.

 

A thru-coach from the westbound Pennsylvanian would require almost a 4-hour layover in PGH even if #29 is on time. Downtown PGH is quickly becoming a foodie destination, so maybe not terrible for those not wanting to sit in a coach much that time--they can catch a late dinner.

 

The eastbound #30 has a slightly shorter layover starting in the wee hours of early morning when connecting passengers may just want to grab more shuteye so no big deal.

 

The station facilities at PGH leave a lot to be desired. Basically a modified AmShack in the shadow of the once-great PRR Station which was converted to condos and a ballroom a generation ago.

 

So, one connecting thru-coach at Pittsburgh each way could be a start toward upgrading travel between NYP and CHI. But really, additional frequency would be better. If PA would commit funding, and additional equipment could be allocated, of course. Not holding my breath! PA's budget is too tight, and there are more pressing infrastructure needs.

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Everyone here is talking about Bristol as the next step, but it seems to me that the low-hanging fruit here is Blacksburg/Christianburg, tapping into the Virginia Tech student market. The hours would be more reasonable as well - should be at least as good as the existing Thruway bus. (Certainly the late-night arrival shouldn't faze the average college student!)

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AFAIR, Amtrak’s own proposal regarding the Pennsy - Cap through cars, involved retimimg the Cap a bit. But that detail is actually less important than getting the through cars in place.

 

 

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Edited by jis

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Everyone here is talking about Bristol as the next step, but it seems to me that the low-hanging fruit here is Blacksburg/Christianburg, tapping into the Virginia Tech student market. The hours would be more reasonable as well - should be at least as good as the existing Thruway bus. (Certainly the late-night arrival shouldn't faze the average college student!)

Yes, of course. Nibbling our way down the tracks: First came the Regional to Lynchburg, now to Roanoke. Next the New River Valley college towns.

 

Then Bristol, Knoxville, Chattanooga, the World! LOL.

 

Virginia probably can and will extend the Roanoker to the Valley in due time. Tho meanwhile D.C.-Richmond and Richmond-Petersburg-Raleigh will absorb all the appropriated funds. And I doubt Virginia wants to pay for Bristol, or that Tennessee wants to pay for a Knoxville-Chattanooga extension, without heaps of federal funds.

 

But if or when passenger trains get another Stimulus-sized windfall of free money, well, let's go!

Edited by WoodyinNYC

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Similarly, no one has talked seriously about anything beyond Bristol AFAICT.

 

I believe there is a bit more than just railfan/foamer fantasies going on here, with both Virginia and Tennessee officials at least aware that east Tennessee (Knoxville) makes a more logical and defensible terminus than Bristol. Even Bristol is in the future still, however, so in fairness it's a bit early for serious discussions.

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Anyone privvy to the load factor leaving Roanoke yesterday?

 

 

Back to Roanoke: I'm still interested to know how many people have been boarding there. Anyone have an idea?

 

 

Medium high to high double digits.

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Bristol seems a really far stretch. Some persons very familiar with Bristol state that the ~151 miles on N&W (NS) took ~ 4:05 for the Birmingham special. and took the Bristol - Knoxville 130 miles on SOU (NS) 3:30. That was when there were only 2 RT . manifest freights on each line with a day time local each way. Now NS runs as many as 15 freights a day with many fewer sidings available for much longer freights.

Tennessee service would be Bristol - Johnson City - Greenville - Morristown - Knoxville - 5 stops to - Chattanooga.

Bristol - Bulls Gap is the actual slow section ( east of Morristown )

It would be hard to find any present Amtrak route service this slow

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Everyone here is talking about Bristol as the next step, but it seems to me that the low-hanging fruit here is Blacksburg/Christianburg, tapping into the Virginia Tech student market. The hours would be more reasonable as well - should be at least as good as the existing Thruway bus. (Certainly the late-night arrival shouldn't faze the average college student!)

Well, if you are going that way...might as well extend on to Narrows, Bluefield, Welch, Williamson, Catlettsburg... :)

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