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DesertDude

When it comes to growing Amtrak, what service expansion(s) do you view

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There won't be any cuts. The thing some may be missing is, with a moderately competent CEO -- and Anderson is one -- you don't cut profitable services unless you physically lack the equipment to run them. Essentially all of the services are profitable at this point and there is enough equipment to run them. If there are any remaining unprofitable services, and I'm not sure there are, they can be brought to profit by (a) making the three-a-weeks daily, for which there is enough equipment, (b) having through cars from the Pennsylvanian to the Capitol Limited, and (c ) waiting two years. Anderson has also directly decried nickel-and-diming, so there probably won't be any of that either.

Edited by neroden

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"IF" Amtrak gets to increase its total rolling stock inventory then 1st fill out LD trains on present routes. Next add other trains on the parts of present routes that are underserved especially the present night time sectors. 3rd Then start services that are partially on present routes going to new or past routes All these subject to acquiring the necessary capital for any route "improvements".

Edited by west point

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"IF" Amtrak gets to increase its total rolling stock inventory then 1st fill out LD trains on present routes. Next add other trains on the parts of present routes that are underserved especially the present night time sectors. 3rd Then start services that are partially on present routes going to new or past routes All these subject to acquiring the necessary capital for any route "improvements".

I agree...most logical plan.... :)

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The "IF" as stated is to keep Amtrak's operating costs increasing the minimum amount. Additional trains on a present route enables operating crews to be used more efficiently. Examples a daily Cardinal or Sunset will not require twice as many C&E persons. As well a daily day train WASH <> ATL will not require as many C&E as on a "virgin" route.

 

Amtrak owned stations or agent staffed stations will not require doubling of staff or additional costs to operate station. Granted a very little cost increase for utilities and cleaning.

Edited by west point

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This assumes he is not ordered to do something stupid. That assumption is far above your level of naïveté so I am astonished you are making it.

Anderson doesn't have a single boss. It has a board with quite a lot of members, and they answer to an even larger body -- Anderson can only be "ordered to do things" by a combination of 535 members of Congress. If you take a look at the current state of Congress and their inability to agree with each other on anything, it will become quite clear that they will not be "ordering" Amtrak to do ANYTHING, certainly not to cut any service, given that each service is the pet service of at least one Congressman.

 

Most likely bad scenario is an across-the-board funding cut through a "sequester", which Amtrak would respond to, basically, with more deferred maintenance, as it and its predecessors have been doing since the 1930s. After all, the operating side is breakeven now (Anderson stated outright it would be profitable in 2018), it's the capital side which needs money.

 

Anderson seems to have some actual skills at doing deferred maintenance "better" than average: making old equipment limp along in the most cost-effective manner. I think he can handle a sequester.

Edited by neroden

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I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but I think expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier state. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

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"IF" and when Amtrak can get more total rolling stock it will probably add service where the most revenue per seat mile will occur. Where that is just speculation on our part.

That's likely tempered by political considerations. For example, I'd say that right now the Southern Rail Commission's projects (Sunset East, Crescent Star, and possibly Birmingham-Mobile[-New Orleans]; remember, New Orleans-Baton Rouge is probably a commuter-ish project even if there might be some strange case for something like Baton Rouge-New Orleans-Mobile as a through service) might have some shot at happening even if their numbers wouldn't be as good as, say, a Daily Cardinal.

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"IF" and when Amtrak can get more total rolling stock it will probably add service where the most revenue per seat mile will occur. Where that is just speculation on our part.

That's likely tempered by political considerations. For example, I'd say that right now the Southern Rail Commission's projects (Sunset East, Crescent Star, and possibly Birmingham-Mobile[-New Orleans]; remember, New Orleans-Baton Rouge is probably a commuter-ish project even if there might be some strange case for something like Baton Rouge-New Orleans-Mobile as a through service) might have some shot at happening even if their numbers wouldn't be as good as, say, a Daily Cardinal.

 

 

"Political"? There's that ugly P word again! And we wonder why Amtrak is in the mess it's in today.

Edited by Philly Amtrak Fan

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Ok, practically speaking, if you've got two trains to pick from and there's a marginal difference in various performance stats between the projections, there's a good chance you're going to go with the one that's more likely to get you votes in Congress later. If the "political" one is a turkey by comparison, Amtrak would probably demand dedicated funding, etc., but if you have a few decent proposals then making a couple of Senators happy is usually a fair tiebreaker.

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I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but I think expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier State. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

Here ya go:

 

http://www.in.gov/indot/files/Amtrak_CostBenefitAnalysis_2013.pdf

 

It's been studied. Needs maybe $250 million investment to cut 29 minutes from the schedule, and then modest subsidies like every other corridor service. (More money could buy more time savings, thru CREATE, on the Illinois side of the state line.)

 

The study ain't great but it has good info. Conspicuously omitted is any mention, ridership or revenue, of how chopping 29 minutes off the run could help the Cardinal's bottom line. Or any mention of the benefit to the Cardinal of being part of a corridor service with multiple frequencies.

 

iirc About 10 or 12 year ago, Illinois paid to add two more Lincoln Service frequencies St Louis-CHI to the existing two corridor trains and the Texas Eagle on that route. So it went from three trains a day to five. Total ridership more than doubled in a year or two, and ridership improved even on the Eagle. The convenience of multiple departure and arrival times attracted more passengers to the Eagle than were lost to the other trains. We could expect a similar result for the Cardinal on that Indy-CHI segment if it were flanked by two or three or four daily runs of the Hoosier State.

 

A longer term goal would be to upgrade the tracks Cincinnati-Indianapolis-CHI to 110-mph as is being done St Louis-CHI. There is easily an hour and probably two hours or more to be chopped from the Cincy-Indy segment. Corridor service here would give Cincy daylight service and increase connecting traffic for Amtrak thru CHI. It could also boost the Cardinal ridership despite it still having at least one post-midnight stop in Cincy, because the train would arrive in CHI early morning in time for a full business day.

 

So we need a few Billion to upgrade the route Cincy-Indy-CHI and a Billion or more for additional equipment for these and other added trains. Let's hope the funding is included in the next Stimulus package.

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"IF" and when Amtrak can get more total rolling stock it will probably add service where the most revenue per seat mile will occur. Where that is just speculation on our part.

That's likely tempered by political considerations. For example, I'd say that right now the Southern Rail Commission's projects (Sunset East, Crescent Star, and possibly Birmingham-Mobile[-New Orleans]; remember, New Orleans-Baton Rouge is probably a commuter-ish project even if there might be some strange case for something like Baton Rouge-New Orleans-Mobile as a through service) might have some shot at happening even if their numbers wouldn't be as good as, say, a Daily Cardinal.

 

 

"Political"? There's that ugly P word again! And we wonder why Amtrak is in the mess it's in today.

 

If it weren't for politics....there would be no Amtrak today...just a few corridor, or extended commuter operations around the country.... ;)

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I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but I think expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier State. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

Here ya go:

 

http://www.in.gov/indot/files/Amtrak_CostBenefitAnalysis_2013.pdf

 

It's been studied. Needs maybe $250 million investment to cut 29 minutes from the schedule, and then modest subsidies like every other corridor service. (More money could buy more time savings, thru CREATE, on the Illinois side of the state line.)

 

The study ain't great but it has good info. Conspicuously omitted is any mention, ridership or revenue, of how chopping 29 minutes off the run could help the Cardinal's bottom line. Or any mention of the benefit to the Cardinal of being part of a corridor service with multiple frequencies.

 

iirc About 10 or 12 year ago, Illinois paid to add two more Lincoln Service frequencies St Louis-CHI to the existing two corridor trains and the Texas Eagle on that route. So it went from three trains a day to five. Total ridership more than doubled in a year or two, and ridership improved even on the Eagle. The convenience of multiple departure and arrival times attracted more passengers to the Eagle than were lost to the other trains. We could expect a similar result for the Cardinal on that Indy-CHI segment if it were flanked by two or three or four daily runs of the Hoosier State.

 

A longer term goal would be to upgrade the tracks Cincinnati-Indianapolis-CHI to 110-mph as is being done St Louis-CHI. There is easily an hour and probably two hours or more to be chopped from the Cincy-Indy segment. Corridor service here would give Cincy daylight service and increase connecting traffic for Amtrak thru CHI. It could also boost the Cardinal ridership despite it still having at least one post-midnight stop in Cincy, because the train would arrive in CHI early morning in time for a full business day.

 

So we need a few Billion to upgrade the route Cincy-Indy-CHI and a Billion or more for additional equipment for these and other added trains. Let's hope the funding is included in the next Stimulus package.

 

What was it Everett Dirksen said? :P

 

everettdirksen1-2x.jpg

Edited by railiner

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I know it's not within Amtrak's control given PRIIA rules and a messy history, but expanding Hoosier State service to 3 times a day (at least) is definitely "low-hanging" fruit. If the Downeaster can be a success as a 5x a day train, so can the Hoosier State. Indy-Chicago is in that sweet spot of too close for a commercial flight, but still not convenient to drive.

Here ya go:

 

http://www.in.gov/indot/files/Amtrak_CostBenefitAnalysis_2013.pdf

 

It's been studied. Needs maybe $250 million investment to cut 29 minutes from the schedule, and then modest subsidies like every other corridor service. (More money could buy more time savings, thru CREATE, on the Illinois side of the state line.)

 

The study ain't great but it has good info.

 

Conspicuously omitted is any mention, ridership or revenue, of how chopping 29 minutes off the run could help the Cardinal's bottom line. Or any mention of the benefit to the Cardinal of being part of a corridor service with multiple frequencies.

 

iirc About 10 or 12 year ago, Illinois paid to add two more Lincoln Service frequencies St Louis-CHI to the existing two corridor trains and the Texas Eagle on that route. So it went from three trains a day to five. Total ridership more than doubled in a year or two, and ridership improved even on the Eagle. The convenience of multiple departure and arrival times attracted more passengers to the Eagle than were lost to the other trains. We could expect a similar result for the Cardinal on that Indy-CHI segment if it were flanked by two or three or four daily runs of the Hoosier State.

 

A longer term goal would be to upgrade the tracks Cincinnati-Indianapolis-CHI to 110-mph as is being done St Louis-CHI. There is easily an hour and probably two hours or more to be chopped from the Cincy-Indy segment. Corridor service here would give Cincy daylight service and increase connecting traffic for Amtrak thru CHI. It could also boost the Cardinal ridership despite it still having at least one post-midnight stop in Cincy, because the train would arrive in CHI early morning in time for a full business day.

 

So we need a few Billion to upgrade the route Cincy-Indy-CHI and a Billion or more for additional equipment for these and other added trains. Let's hope the funding is included in the next Stimulus package.

 

What was it Everett Dirksen said? :P

 

everettdirksen1-2x.jpg

 

I was thinking what Ronald Reagan said, "Mr Russian President, Tear down this wall." Or don't build one.

 

For the estimated $20 or $30 Billion to erect Hadrian's Wall, or the Maginot Line, or Trump's Folly on the Mexican border, we could have dedicated passenger-only tracks CHI-TOL-CLE-PGH-PHL, or instead CHI-IND-CIN-Charleston-Charlottesville-DC-PHL-NYC, or maybe both.

 

Or if the don't-waste-on-a-wall money isn't enuff, we could raise taxes on corporations and the super rich.

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I would say your comment is entirely political and entirely irrelevant to trains. Not arguing it one way or the other, but I suggest someone take it down before World Amtrak Forum War III begins.

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A one cent per gallon national gasoline tax would generate a billion dollars a year. That money would fund a lot of passenger rail infrastructure projects over time.

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A one cent per gallon national gasoline tax would generate a billion dollars a year. That money would fund a lot of passenger rail infrastructure projects over time.

 

And if we all put a penny on the tracks every day we could solve the world's belt buckle shortage!

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If we all put a penny on the tracks, that would destroy three million dollars worth of wealth for no apparent purpose.

 

I’ve never been a fan of the AmPenny, I’m a much bigger fan of the AmDime.

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Its going mostly to graft. Thats where most money goes, regrettably. If you get hung up on that stuff, you will fail to get anything done. If you protest too loud, you will be silenced. Possibly permanently.

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A common complaint on this site is "If the federal government stopped wasting money on (________) there would be more resources for passenger rail. Translation: Take money away from someone else and spend it on something that benefits ME. So boys and girls let us say that the administration get serious about transportation infrastructure and decides to increase the gas tax to fund it. And lo and behold to make it a bipartisan proposal they agree to take one cent per gallon and spend it on passenger rail upgrades. If you were the transportation secretary how would you allocate a billion dollars a year for passenger rail infrastructure?

Finish PTC?

South of the Lake?

New rolling stock?

Corridor track upgrades?

Create in Chicago?

 

This is a discussion forum, let's discuss.

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