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

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The Cardinal connection would require passengers to ride south-- the opposite way they arrived. Some people don't mind riding backwards, but if I had a choice, I'd rather ride facing forward. No matter, we've been told Amtrak hates switching cars en route. Don't know if that's actually true or not, but a 29/97 connection should be doable at Washington. There's Amtrak yard jobs there that could perform the drop and add.

I don't think it would make much sense to have Florida through cars unless schedules were changed or OTP improved so that 91/92 could carry them instead of 97/98. I doubt many people would use thru-service from 30 to 97, as the connection to 91 is guaranteed and that could get them south earlier. Either way, I would much prefer to see a 92/29 connection guaranteed before any thru-service is established. This would provide much easier access from Tampa, Columbia, and Raleigh to the rest of the network.

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What about through-cars going from the Cardinal or Capitol Limited to a Silver train down to Florida. This would result in direct service from Chicago to South Florida. This plus an extended CONO or Sunset Ltd would make south Florida vastly more accessible by train.

 

 

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Amtrak has done that in the past and has proposed restarting that in the PRIIA. But there are issues (or as I like to call them excuses).

 

Chicago-Florida one seat rides are certainly desirable. There are three possible routings, CL-Silver (Star or Meteor), CONO-Gulf Coast, or old Floridian. The CL-Silver would be the "low hanging fruit" as it is all existing routes. You wouldn't even need new equipment or labor, just connect two existing trains (the PRIIA proposed having the Star begin in DC and the Palmetto go down to Miami instead). Extending the CONO would add service across the Gulf Coast. Restarting the old Floridian would restart service through Louisville and Nashville and add an additional frequency via Indy (hopefully at better hours than the Hoosier State). It would probably be the shortest in terms of distance but hardly any of the route is currently being run right now and unlike the Gulf Coast route there isn't the Southern Commission report and studies and political support.

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When is the Vermonter going to extend into Montreal? Or is it? I don't even see a 'Thruway' bus connection from St. Albans..... :unsure:

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When is the Vermonter going to extend into Montreal? Or is it? I don't even see a 'Thruway' bus connection from St. Albans..... :unsure:

It will extend sometime after the C&I processing for the Adirondack moves to Gare Centrale. Who knows when that will happen, now that all the diplomatic and legislative niceties have been taken care of.

 

 

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It may be much easier to get state and local support than federal support in the current setup. Even trains that run way longer than 750 miles depend on local financial support to continue running. Think Southwest Chief through Colorado and New Mexico for example.

 

 

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I wonder if there is a case for franchising out the long distance services to private company's or interest groups, thus taking it away from ,Amtrak. Here in the UK we have such a system of private firms running services on all lines and I know there is a lot of criticism from the die-hards of old but overall it is a system that gives a good service. A broken up Amtrak with competitors......will the USA risk it?

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The Cardinal connection would require passengers to ride south-- the opposite way they arrived. Some people don't mind riding backwards, but if I had a choice, I'd rather ride facing forward. No matter, we've been told Amtrak hates switching cars en route. Don't know if that's actually true or not, but a 29/97 connection should be doable at Washington. There's Amtrak yard jobs there that could perform the drop and add.

There are seats that either rotate 180 degrees or flip over (walk over). So what's the big deal? Amtrak trains are involved in drop and add movements every day--- the auto train. Amtrak wants money, route changes or new routes will be only if Amtrak sees it can make money by the changes

 

Reversible seats on Amtrak is news to me. I wonder, then, why most trains get turned at their terminals? The Cascades Talgo sets don't get turned, IIRC. Maybe their seats are reversible?

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I wonder if there is a case for franchising out the long distance services to private company's or interest groups, thus taking it away from ,Amtrak. Here in the UK we have such a system of private firms running services on all lines and I know there is a lot of criticism from the die-hards of old but overall it is a system that gives a good service. A broken up Amtrak with competitors......will the USA risk it?

 

 

Perhaps the biggest obstacle is getting access to tracks. The freight railroads which own the vast majority of US rail network have been loathe to grant access to an operator other than Amtrak.

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The Cardinal connection would require passengers to ride south-- the opposite way they arrived. Some people don't mind riding backwards, but if I had a choice, I'd rather ride facing forward. No matter, we've been told Amtrak hates switching cars en route. Don't know if that's actually true or not, but a 29/97 connection should be doable at Washington. There's Amtrak yard jobs there that could perform the drop and add.

There are seats that either rotate 180 degrees or flip over (walk over). So what's the big deal? Amtrak trains are involved in drop and add movements every day--- the auto train. Amtrak wants money, route changes or new routes will be only if Amtrak sees it can make money by the changes

Reversible seats on Amtrak is news to me. I wonder, then, why most trains get turned at their terminals? The Cascades Talgo sets don't get turned, IIRC. Maybe their seats are reversible?
Lots of times Amtrak sees it as easier to turn the whole set than to turn the locomotive(s) separately from the train and spin the seats.

 

 

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The Cardinal connection would require passengers to ride south-- the opposite way they arrived. Some people don't mind riding backwards, but if I had a choice, I'd rather ride facing forward. No matter, we've been told Amtrak hates switching cars en route. Don't know if that's actually true or not, but a 29/97 connection should be doable at Washington. There's Amtrak yard jobs there that could perform the drop and add.

There are seats that either rotate 180 degrees or flip over (walk over). So what's the big deal? Amtrak trains are involved in drop and add movements every day--- the auto train. Amtrak wants money, route changes or new routes will be only if Amtrak sees it can make money by the changes

Reversible seats on Amtrak is news to me. I wonder, then, why most trains get turned at their terminals? The Cascades Talgo sets don't get turned, IIRC. Maybe their seats are reversible?
Lots of times Amtrak sees it as easier to turn the whole set than to turn the locomotive(s) separately from the train and spin the seats.

 

 

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That's a big part of it. It's a lot less work to just wye a train, than to detach the locomotives, reverse them, and turn all the seats around. Also bear in mind that Amtrak might want to keep sleepers or business class away from the engines (for quietness).

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Does it seem like CL-SM through-cars would be single-level or be Superliners?

Likely single level, as there is a non-zero chance of the CL being converted to single level cars, either due to lack of superliners or due to thru cars to both NYP and Florida.

 

 

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What about increased frequency of Pere Marquette? Has anyone mentioned that. The other Michigan services have multiple options but Pere Marquette is once daily each way. Especially since it stops in so many popular summer vacation towns for Chicago tourists.

YES for increased frequencies of the Pere Marquette! I don’t know the double tracking situation, but a simple reflection of the current timetable, adding 0600 CHI and 1830 GRR departures, would make the train attractive to Chicago-based travelers, perhaps for vacationing spots.

 

On the note of single frequency state supported routes, the same thing could be done with the Heartland Flyer. Add an 0800 (or so) FTW - 1227 OKC and 1725 OKC - 2047 FTW. Would make day trips to OKC feasible from Norman, Ardmore, etc., including the moneyed Metroplex. I’d rather have that than a single frequency HF extension to Kansas or Tulsa.

 

 

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Both are needed on the HF, increased frequency AND national connections to the north.

It's too slow and redundant to travel by train from Okla. City to anywhere north via FTW.

 

The northern connection is needed first, to shore-up ridership and provide needed northern connections.

 

The route will likely go through Wichita instead of Tulsa, thanks to the latter city's crazy mayor who considers trains "old fashioned" but thinks driver-less cars are the rage. What a dummy.

Edited by ohle

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The extension won't happen without the support of Kansas, and right now, that seems to be a big roadblock, unfortunately.

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Amtrak will not expand, if anything Amtrak will shrink. If you want rail passenger service to expand you are going to have to provide the right of way. 100 ft. wide by one mile is 12.5 acres. Do you want rail passenger service that much? Area where I live land can be bought for as little as $1 an acre but the general is $500-$1000. Now if you want to put it where people are living (making them move) then you have a problem. How much do you want that passenger rail line?

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What I see happening in the short term (but keep in mind this is also a hot election year):

  1. Corridors making further progress: Brightline construction to Orlando and TCR moving from a concept into construction. If Brightline demonstrates itself like it has been, the sky's the limit.
  2. Cost-effective corridor restorations: These are projects that are either in the definite pipeline (CHI-Quad Cities, CHI-Rockford) or could be done "relatively" straightforward (CHI-Fort Wayne, IN, NOL-parts of the Gulf). Closing gaps in the Amtrak system is a major thing I want to see happening, and a reason why the Horizon cars should be retained after the Midwest PRIIA cars come in. The Illinois routes are dependent on new leadership in Springfield.
  3. If Amtrak can even have a 100.25% farebox recovery ratio, Congress might be more open to funding capital costs. Unfortunately, I see the price of that being somewhat higher and somewhat unreasonable ticket prices.
  4. Corridor frequency expansions: That WAS supposed to happen in the PNW until the tragic events back in December.
  5. ??????
  6. Profit!!!! (cue the South Park reference)

There are things I want to see happen that might be challenging because of logistics:

  1. Roanoke-Bristol by 2020. It would be a long day trip to NYP at best, even with 60 MPH speeds.
  2. PIT-HAR frequencies improvements and speed increases. Until Amtrak's first day, PIT-NYP was I think four trains a day, albeit at crappy hours.
  3. Consideration of restoring SOME long-distance trains. With Greyhound and Jefferson Lines talking of getting rid of select Western bus services, it puts those parts of the country in a bind.

Challenges in the corridor realm (and new opportunities):

  1. Demographics changes. Anyone who knows me knows I am a die-hard lover of the Rust Belt and see the Sun Belt states (and their labor laws and low taxes) as a threat to everything I love. However, these high growth states (even the ones that might be underwater in a century) should look at corridor potentials. NC has taken the lead on this, and has been consistently improving the Piedmont/Carolinian service, with more frequencies, improved station facilities and scavenging for every piece of used equipment the state can get its hands on. Texas will have TCR, Florida with Brightline and I hope Nevada, Colorado, Georgia and Iowa get into the game. Iowa was recently ranked as the best state by some magazine in regards to living and doing business. Having lived in Iowa (for a week, yes, I know) and having visited a few times, the state lacks real transit.
  2. Equipment shortages. Even with new cars for California and the Midwest consortium, I estimate that Amtrak is still roughly 100 cars and 20 locomotives short of where it should be, and I would warn Amtrak before scrapping the Horizon cars. Use them as a reserve fleet. I did the math and since the early 80s Amtrak has lost quite a few cars and locomotives due to accidents. No equipment replacement plan (outside of the Midwest and California) puts Amtrak in a bind.

What can rail advocates do? Write like heck to legislators at both the national and local levels. Make their voices heard in newspaper editorials. Democracy ain't a spectator sport!

Edited by Northeastern292

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Amtrak will not expand, if anything Amtrak will shrink. If you want rail passenger service to expand you are going to have to provide the right of way. 100 ft. wide by one mile is 12.5 acres. Do you want rail passenger service that much? Area where I live land can be bought for as little as $1 an acre but the general is $500-$1000. Now if you want to put it where people are living (making them move) then you have a problem. How much do you want that passenger rail line?

 

Most proposed rail extensions and expansions involve existing right of way, not new rights of way. The Heartland Flyer extension in the posts immediately before yours involve an existing BNSF rail line.

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And yet both Brightline and Texas HSR are actually going for new right of way. I think this whole thing about "we cannot get new rights of way anywhere" is just hogwash.

 

As a matter of fact even the NEC HSR will land up getting some new ROW whether it is steel wheel on steel rails or Maglev or Hyperloop or whatever.

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And yet both Brightline and Texas HSR are actually going for new right of way. I think this whole thing about "we cannot get new rights of way anywhere" is just hogwash.

 

As a matter of fact even the NEC HSR will land up getting some new ROW whether it is steel wheel on steel rails or Maglev or Hyperloop or whatever.

 

I was referring to the suggestion that any passenger service will "have to provide the right of way." I think it's just as much hogwash to suggest that any new service will require new rights of way.

 

As for HSR (whether CAHSR or Texas Central or whatever), of course, that will almost always require new rights of way. But non-HSR, not so much.

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And yet both Brightline and Texas HSR are actually going for new right of way. I think this whole thing about "we cannot get new rights of way anywhere" is just hogwash.

 

As a matter of fact even the NEC HSR will land up getting some new ROW whether it is steel wheel on steel rails or Maglev or Hyperloop or whatever.

 

I was referring to the suggestion that any passenger service will "have to provide the right of way." I think it's just as much hogwash to suggest that any new service will require new rights of way.

 

As for HSR (whether CAHSR or Texas Central or whatever), of course, that will almost always require new rights of way. But non-HSR, not so much.

 

Absolutely right.

 

I was responding mostly to the Quacking fellow's post.

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Will ignore the present political situation. The abysmal failure of the NS bi-level probably means that no additional bi-levels can be delivered for 10 years. However there has been no disclosure of the exact nature of the failure(s) so that statement can be way off. It may be NS has not disclosed the failure(s) hoping to sell the causes to another builder ?

 

The single level cars now ordered and probably follow on orders may provide much needed single level equipment. if Amtrak can fulfill the passenger demand at the time of delivery and have many spares here is what would be a significant scenario.

 

Take freed up Superliners from Capital, CNO, and Sunset east of SAS. Use those cars to get a daily Eagle to LAX, AS well a Cal Z to everywhere splitting at SLC to LAX and PDX / SEA. Later split it at DEN for a route over the UP Overland route Cheyenne - Ogden ( split there ) There will be a need to solve the car switching at the DEN stub station and its limiting number of cars.

 

Next take the single level cars and put them on the above discontinued Superliner trains. Then add cars to the present single levels to meet demand with cut off cars at ATL, Daily Cardinal and extend Palmetto back to MIA probably over FEC ? Add another PHL <> CHI train, Daily Sunset and daily NOL - Florida. then to fill out Midwest connecting trains at Cincinnati - Florida train thru ATL. Day train ATL <> NYP.

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Will ignore the present political situation. The abysmal failure of the NS bi-level probably means that no additional bi-levels can be delivered for 10 years. However there has been no disclosure of the exact nature of the failure(s) so that statement can be way off. It may be NS has not disclosed the failure(s) hoping to sell the causes to another builder ?

 

The single level cars now ordered and probably follow on orders may provide much needed single level equipment. if Amtrak can fulfill the passenger demand at the time of delivery and have many spares here is what would be a significant scenario.

 

Take freed up Superliners from Capital, CNO, and Sunset east of SAS. Use those cars to get a daily Eagle to LAX, AS well a Cal Z to everywhere splitting at SLC to LAX and PDX / SEA. Later split it at DEN for a route over the UP Overland route Cheyenne - Ogden ( split there ) There will be a need to solve the car switching at the DEN stub station and its limiting number of cars.

 

Next take the single level cars and put them on the above discontinued Superliner trains. Then add cars to the present single levels to meet demand with cut off cars at ATL, Daily Cardinal and extend Palmetto back to MIA probably over FEC ? Add another PHL <> CHI train, Daily Sunset and daily NOL - Florida. then to fill out Midwest connecting trains at Cincinnati - Florida train thru ATL. Day train ATL <> NYP.

Making DEN a stub was a lousy idea. Just another example of how rail infrastructure in the US is treated like a stepchild.

 

CZ to everywhere...aka the UP's "City of Everywhere"?

 

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In terms of physical space, there is space for platform on the through tracks in Denver which are west of the LRT station, should such a need arise in the future.

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Will ignore the present political situation. The abysmal failure of the NS bi-level probably means that no additional bi-levels can be delivered for 10 years. However there has been no disclosure of the exact nature of the failure(s) so that statement can be way off. It may be NS has not disclosed the failure(s) hoping to sell the causes to another builder ?

 

The single level cars now ordered and probably follow on orders may provide much needed single level equipment. if Amtrak can fulfill the passenger demand at the time of delivery and have many spares here is what would be a significant scenario.

 

Take freed up Superliners from Capital, CNO, and Sunset east of SAS. Use those cars to get a daily Eagle to LAX, AS well a Cal Z to everywhere splitting at SLC to LAX and PDX / SEA. Later split it at DEN for a route over the UP Overland route Cheyenne - Ogden ( split there ) There will be a need to solve the car switching at the DEN stub station and its limiting number of cars.

 

Next take the single level cars and put them on the above discontinued Superliner trains. Then add cars to the present single levels to meet demand with cut off cars at ATL, Daily Cardinal and extend Palmetto back to MIA probably over FEC ? Add another PHL <> CHI train, Daily Sunset and daily NOL - Florida. then to fill out Midwest connecting trains at Cincinnati - Florida train thru ATL. Day train ATL <> NYP.

Great ideas.

So many things need to change at Amtrak, including new routes & services.

These are needed to expand ridership & improve efficiencies.

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Suggest that although much present RR ROW can be used for HrSR (110 ?) the need to get curve mitigation will require many short sections that are on the curve inside of the legacy RR to be bought. Legacy RRs can move over and the passenger rail enters that vacated space. On the inside of curve for future passenger rail can be installed. Just getting many sections of un interrupted track speeds will significantly reduce travel times. Example average 90 MPH WASH - ATL would provide for times of ~ 7-1/2 hours.

Edited by west point

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