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Amtrak route with least amount of support?

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Which Amtrak train's disappearance would cause the least amount of unhappy people? This would be route that has very little support from, well, anyone. I propose the Sunset Limited. Do any of the states along the route actually care about it?

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The city of New Orleans doesn't get much support.

 

 

Sent from my iPhone using Amtrak Forum

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My vote is either the NEC north or Boston leg of the LSL. Maybe the Downeaster.

But Maine cares enough to support the Downeaster. Sure, NH does not give a crap about the route.

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Gotta agree that the Sunset Ltd. Is #1 on the No Love list!

 

That's why a Daily Texas Eagle CHI-LAX with the proposed SAS-NOL stub train ( timed to connect with the Crescent and CONO) makes the most sense.

Edited by Bob Dylan

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This is kind of a silly endeavor. What do you mean by "least support?" Ridership? Political backing in the form of state subsidies? Groups that support the train? Railfans? I don't get the concept.

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This is kind of a silly endeavor. What do you mean by "least support?" Ridership? Political backing in the form of state subsidies? Groups that support the train? Railfans? I don't get the concept.

Do people along the route care about the train? Do local politicians come out in support of the train?

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Hard to care about a non daily train. However the other day I was talking to a random fuel desk clerk, and she knew were the train station was and the days & time the train visit. Yet never has been on the train. Seem to be a common issue. I have taken to bring up Amtrak during regular discussion, and find it surprising how many people are aware of the trains but yet to ride themselves.

 

Dont know what the point of this thread is. Ever community has a interest in there train. But limited funds and local politics will limited any measure of support. Any mayor who does know there a train station in town, probably should not be in office. At the very least the train travel across a community is a Emergency Manager Issue. Got to prepare for derailment and a extra 300 people in your community needed help at 2am.

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My vote is either the NEC north or Boston leg of the LSL. Maybe the Downeaster.

You really don't like New England, do you?

Edited by cpotisch

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Gotta agree that the Sunset Ltd. Is #1 on the No Love list!

 

That's why a Daily Texas Eagle CHI-LAX with the proposed SAS-NOL stub train ( timed to connect with the Crescent and CONO) makes the most sense.

 

I'm trying to remember: Would the stub train have through-cars onto the Eagle, or would passengers have to change trains?

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I'm trying to remember: Would the stub train have through-cars onto the Eagle, or would passengers have to change trains?

 

 

Nothing set in stone. Once it became apparent that Nippon (NS ) delivery of bi-levels was not going to happen plans became uncertain. Originally a Daily Eagle to LAX with Super liners. A daily connecting train of single levels at SAS to NOL. Now Amtrak has absolutely no idea what long range plans to make. Once delivery and acceptances of Siemens cars is assured the plans not only for this service but who know what else national plans ? Politics are also the 800 pound bear as well.

 

If congress keeps the present level of funding for LD trains ( FY 2018 ) then all bets are off ?

Edited by west point

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This is kind of a silly endeavor. What do you mean by "least support?" Ridership? Political backing in the form of state subsidies? Groups that support the train? Railfans? I don't get the concept.

I'm thinking the original poster meant the least ridership affected, were an Amtrak long distance train to go away. That said, I don't think the Sunset is THAT bad for ridership, and still gets some due to the fact it serves Phoenix(via Maricopa), Tucson, El Paso, and Alpine(for those going there, Marfa, or Big Bend National Park). It has both the issue of the fact it only runs 3 days a week, and the fact it was rerouted outside of downtown Phoenix, that hurts its ridership. The main issue with bringing Sunset service back to Phoenix, is that the Union Pacific tracks west of Phoenix would need to be restored

 

You honestly could make cases for other trains having lower ridership as well too, for various reasons. For example Silver Star being less since it goes through Columbia, SC late at night, and since sadly its dining car service was removed. Or the stretch between Grand Junction and Reno on CZ, due to the fact the Ca. Zephyr goes through that area late at night. And for Salt Lake City hurting ridership there, the arrival times aren't great(IIRC 11:10-30pm going west, and something like 3:30am going east). Let me make it extremely clear though, I am VERY OPPOSED to any Amtrak trains being eliminated because of low ridership!

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This is kind of a silly endeavor. What do you mean by "least support?" Ridership? Political backing in the form of state subsidies? Groups that support the train? Railfans? I don't get the concept.

I'm thinking the original poster meant the least ridership affected, were an Amtrak long distance train to go away.

I agree with Mike. I think the OP was asking which train has the least political support and the fewest people that rely on it, along its route. I don't think he was asking which train has the fewest total people along the route, regardless of whether or not they rely on it and use it.

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If Amtrak had to start doing train offs tomorrow, I suspect the Sunset would be gone (Tri weekly, in a bunch of states that don't really care), followed by the Heartland Flyer. Oklahoma has always been on the fence about it and ridership is not very good. I think it beats the Cardinal only because West Virginia has historically been very protective of it's train, even tri weekly. So WV might try to save it again.

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You're probably right. It's sad, because its New Orleans' only train west, with great crew and some great views, but being thrice-weekly, it never really had any chance.

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Politically, the Sunset Limited has by *far* the least support. Heartland Flyer is probably second-least. Southern half of the City of New Orleans (south of Carbondale, or maybe south of Memphis) is probably third.

 

Anderson's attacks on the Southwest Chief show that he's a fool who doesn't understand politics, since the Southwest Chief has fanatical political support, almost as much as the Empire Builder.

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Politically, the Sunset Limited has by *far* the least support. Heartland Flyer is probably second-least. Southern half of the City of New Orleans (south of Carbondale, or maybe south of Memphis) is probably third.

 

Anderson's attacks on the Southwest Chief show that he's a fool who doesn't understand politics, since the Southwest Chief has fanatical political support, almost as much as the Empire Builder.

Not really, the SW Chief proposal wasn't an attempt to get rid of it, but an attempt to remake it. On the SW Chief, you have a daily train with a single (NMRX really doesn't count) cooperative host RR who would have been agreeable to most changes Amtrak wanted to make (on the current route). The non starter was always the bus bridge. Meanwhile with the SL, you have a tri weekly train, so it won't be a good corridor service regardless and a hostile host RR. So your only options with the SL are discontinuing or status quo. That's why Amtrak went after the Chief first.

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Politically, the Sunset Limited has by *far* the least support. Heartland Flyer is probably second-least. Southern half of the City of New Orleans (south of Carbondale, or maybe south of Memphis) is probably third.

 

Anderson's attacks on the Southwest Chief show that he's a fool who doesn't understand politics, since the Southwest Chief has fanatical political support, almost as much as the Empire Builder.

Not really, the SW Chief proposal wasn't an attempt to get rid of it, but an attempt to remake it. On the SW Chief, you have a daily train with a single (NMRX really doesn't count) cooperative host RR who would have been agreeable to most changes Amtrak wanted to make (on the current route). The non starter was always the bus bridge. Meanwhile with the SL, you have a tri weekly train, so it won't be a good corridor service regardless and a hostile host RR. So your only options with the SL are discontinuing or status quo. That's why Amtrak went after the Chief first.

Chopping up a two night train into short train segments and a very long bus segment would have 100% destroyed the Chief. Virtually no one would have been willing to transfer to/from a bus two times for a trip that long. They weaponized the PTC mandate to justify what would have effectively been a train-off, without having to worry about the 180 day rule or anything like that.

Edited by cpotisch

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My vote is either the NEC north or Boston leg of the LSL. Maybe the Downeaster.

 

Considering that the NEC north carries over 50% of the combined rail/air passengers on this route, this making it one of the few places in the US where passenger rail is actually an important part of the transportation mix, I think not.

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I agree with Bob Dylan and Neroden that the Sunset Limited wins the "no love" contest, hands down. However, I was thinking just a week ago about how senseless the current state of the Sunset Limited is.

 

To paraphrase what I said on this forum a while back, the Sunset Limited from LAX to NOL would be a very successful train in any sane world (and I'm not even talking about restoring the train NOL-FL). If you count Phoenix, the SL serves 4 of the 7 largest cities in the U.S. The route also has many retirees who have more time for train travel. Some of the places the SL serves (like Tucson, El Paso, and Palm Springs) don't have the best flight options, making it easier for Amtrak to be a competitive alternative.

 

Yet the Sunset Limited only runs 3 times a week, serves San Antonio at an ungodly hour, and annoyingly bypasses Phoenix and Las Cruces. If the UP was cooperative and Amtrak was aggressive about improving the SL, there's no doubt in my mind it could be the most wildly successful of the "transcontinental" routes. I'm talking you could easily get a solid ridership base for a twice-daily train, and I wouldn't say that about some of the other LD trains.

 

I'm afraid the wasted potential of the SL is just a microcosm of the wasted potential of the whole system.

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Besides all mentioned, the SL would also do better if it had at least one, same day connection at its eastern terminal, like the other trans-cons do. I suppose you could call the Eagle that...

Not that an overnight in New Orleans is bad....

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I agree with Bob Dylan and Neroden that the Sunset Limited wins the "no love" contest, hands down. However, I was thinking just a week ago about how senseless the current state of the Sunset Limited is.

 

To paraphrase what I said on this forum a while back, the Sunset Limited from LAX to NOL would be a very successful train in any sane world (and I'm not even talking about restoring the train NOL-FL). If you count Phoenix, the SL serves 4 of the 7 largest cities in the U.S. The route also has many retirees who have more time for train travel. Some of the places the SL serves (like Tucson, El Paso, and Palm Springs) don't have the best flight options, making it easier for Amtrak to be a competitive alternative.

 

Yet the Sunset Limited only runs 3 times a week, serves San Antonio at an ungodly hour, and annoyingly bypasses Phoenix and Las Cruces. If the UP was cooperative and Amtrak was aggressive about improving the SL, there's no doubt in my mind it could be the most wildly successful of the "transcontinental" routes. I'm talking you could easily get a solid ridership base for a twice-daily train, and I wouldn't say that about some of the other LD trains.

 

I'm afraid the wasted potential of the SL is just a microcosm of the wasted potential of the whole system.

Exactly! If Amtrak really tried, I think they really could turn things around for many of their unsuccessful LD trains. Remember, "Where there's a will, there's a way"

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The problem faced by the Sunset Limited is a remarkable lack of local political support in almost every major urban area on its route.

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The problem faced by the Sunset Limited is a remarkable lack of local political support in almost every major urban area on its route.

 

Wonder if there would be support if it ran daily or even better twice daily on mirror schedules?

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