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Amtrak route with least amount of support?

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Yeah, while we are at it I am also for extending the Coast Starlight all the way to Anchorage :lol: Yeah, it needs  the construction of a few miles of new railroad through virgin territory with hardly any traffic potential. But so what? :rolleyes:

Edited by jis

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jis, I do understand the concept of illustrating absurdity by being absurd. But I also think that there's a qualitative difference between what you (sarcastically) propose and the extension of daily direct through service from three drastically underserved metro areas of population 2.5M (San Antonio), 6.3M (Houston), and 6.8M (Dallas/Fort Worth) to Atlanta (metro pop 5.8M) and the Northeast over existing rail lines in good condition, many of which already carry passenger service (Longview-Fort Worth; New Orleans-San Antonio).

Edited by ehbowen

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It is better to create trains that specifically address the missing pieces instead of coming up with Rube Goldberg schemes for extending existing services.

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Generally yes, but in this specific instance I disagree. I believe that a westward extension of the Crescent providing overnight service to New Orleans and through service to Atlanta and points east would be better received than a "stub train" if the Texas Eagle is to be made a daily through train via San Antonio to replace the transcontinental Sunset Limited. And the Crescent Star proposal to Dallas/Fort Worth via the KCS "Meridian Speedway" was floated almost 20 years ago; although never implemented I do believe that the basic idea is sound.

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Why would a connecting train that runs from Atlanta to Dallas be any less well received? Once you have a reliable service set up then we can consider some through cars. Remember that is how the successful through service on Pioneer and Desert Wind came about. Those trains were initially started as SLC - SEA and OGD - LAX independent trains with connecting schedules.

Crescent already has difficulty in maintaining reliable schedule to New Orleans and even to Atlanta. Now piling on yet another known unreliable segment will just make the service more unpredictable for everyone, and therefore less attractive.

One thing that was hammered into us over and over again when we were taught how to design reliable distributed systems was to reduce unbreakable dependencies between components/segments as much as possible, so that a failure in one corner of the system does not spread all across the board rapidly. The same principle applies in designing interconnected networks. Just because a connection is supposed to work does not mean it always wil;l. When equipment is tied irrevocably to the connection working the system is prone to more failures that spread quickly.

But of course, when we merely playing trains, probably such operational issues are not that important. So well, carry on...

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I do agree that the schedule reliability issues need to be addressed, independent of whatever decisions may be made concerning additional service.

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What about running the Texas Eagle Chicago-Ft.Worth-Abilene-El Paso-Los Angeles (seems like a quicker, more direct routing), have the Heartland Flyer run OKC-FTW-SAS (CHI-SAS connection in FTW), and like some have mentioned extend the Crescent overnight from NOL to HOS/SAS as to provide one-seat service to HOS/SAS from ATL and the Northeast.

 

Agree that Crescent’s current reliability is awful. 19 arrived in NOL at 0555 this morning, about 10 hours late.

 

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What would be more valuable for Houston and San Antonio, assuming it has to be one or the other:

1) a one-seat ride to Atlanta, Washington DC, NYC

2) a one-seat rode to El Paso, Tucson, Los Angeles

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Let's consider Houston to Washington DC. How many people who travel from Houston to Washington DC today would start using the train instead of whatever they use today? How may of those that do not travel between those two points today, would start doing so when such a train becomes available. Let us assume for the moment a standard Amtrak LD train with average speed of 55mph or less, since even that seems somewhat iffy at present. I am just curious what people think are the ballpark numbers.

The scenario changes considerably if we get a European on Chinese style HSR with average speed in excess of 125mph, or perhaps even higher.

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1 hour ago, NativeSon5859 said:

What would be more valuable for Houston and San Antonio, assuming it has to be one or the other:

1) a one-seat ride to Atlanta, Washington DC, NYC

2) a one-seat rode to El Paso, Tucson, Los Angeles

As a Houston resident who has taken the Sunset Limited to either bumper several times, my first preference would be a daily Sunset Limited combined with a daily Texas Chief. But that doesn't appear to be in the offing under anyone's proposed plans. I still say that a through long-distance train with overnight service to New Orleans, service to San Antonio during reasonable (mostly daylight) hours, same-day connections to the west in San Antonio, and through service to the East Coast would be more valuable than a "stub train" with no connections to speak of in New Orleans. Provided, as jis brought up, that the schedule reliability issues can be successfully dealt with.

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2 hours ago, NativeSon5859 said:

What about running the Texas Eagle Chicago-Ft.Worth-Abilene-El Paso-Los Angeles (seems like a quicker, more direct routing), have the Heartland Flyer run OKC-FTW-SAS (CHI-SAS connection in FTW), and like some have mentioned extend the Crescent overnight from NOL to HOS/SAS as to provide one-seat service to HOS/SAS from ATL and the Northeast.

 

Agree that Crescent’s current reliability is awful. 19 arrived in NOL at 0555 this morning, about 10 hours late.

Way too much, dude. That’s just way too much. :ohboy:

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3 hours ago, ehbowen said:

Generally yes, but in this specific instance I disagree. I believe that a westward extension of the Crescent providing overnight service to New Orleans and through service to Atlanta and points east would be better received than a "stub train" if the Texas Eagle is to be made a daily through train via San Antonio to replace the transcontinental Sunset Limited.

I agree. The only issue or disadvantage I see with having the Crescent extended to San Antonio as opposed to just a NOL-SAS stub strain, is the timekeeping. I think that through service from Texas to points all along the east coast really would have a big market, especially considering that you currently don’t just have to transfer in NOL, but have to spend a night there. I understand that the risk of delays is a big issue, but I think that one seat rides between all those points could really make it worth it.

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Having multiple connecting trains is not per se antithetical to having one seat rides using through cars. The difference between having a whole train through vs having through and sectional cars is that on those occasions when something goes wrong with one segment of the the run, the entire service does not get screwed. Only the segment gets screwed and rest of the system runs as is.

The cons are that you need a few more protect cars to cover for those misconnected cars, and of course the misconnected passengers have to be handled.

If the system in US was even vaguely rational in the way freight and passenger railroads relate to each other, one could conceive of once off second short section to handle misconnects too, but that ain't gonna happen.

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1 hour ago, NativeSon5859 said:

 


Just thinking way outside the box. emoji16.png

 

Did you intentionally make that emoji that big? Because I’m seeing huge emojis in a lot of posts and I’m wondering if it’s a bug or something...

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23 hours ago, ehbowen said:

If you tasked me with the detailed implementation of this plan, here's what I would propose:

Standard consist:

  • Bag-dorm (SAS) - Only carries bags to/from points west of Birmingham
  • Viewliner Sleeper (SAS)
  • Viewliner Diner (SAS)
  • Coach (SAS)
  • Coach (SAS)
  • Coach (FTW)
  • Coach (FTW)
  • Business/AmLounge (FTW)
  • Viewliner Sleeper (FTW)
  • Full Baggage - DAL/FTW bags and all bags east of Birmingham

Tracks diverge at Meridian, but operational split to occur in Birmingham as it is a staffed station with checked baggage and facilities. Timetable east of Birmingham essentially unchanged. Extra dwell time in Birmingham to make the split. Approximate timings to/from the west:

SAS Section WB: Dep. Birmingham 1230P; NOL 745P/845P; HOS 600A/645A; SAS 1145A

SAS Section EB: Dep SAS 400P; HOS 900P/930P; NOL 600A/700A; Arr Birmingham 200P

FTW Section WB: Dep Birmingham 100P; Meridian 400P/415P; Jackson 715P/730P (Connection from NB CONO); Monroe 1115P; Shreveport 215A; DAL 715A/730A; Arr FTW 900A

FTW Section EB: Dep FTW 530P; DAL 700P/715P; Shreveport 1215A; Monroe 315A; Jackson 700A/715A (Connection to SB CONO); Meridian 1015A/1030A; Arr Birmingham 130P

Large express items transferred to/from Texas Eagle in FTW.

Mini-commissary in SAS restocks Texas Eagle en route as well as Crescent upon termination.

Thoughts?

Edit To Add: Oh, yes; I'd also adjust the schedule of the through transcontinental Texas Eagle both ways to achieve a reasonable layover for connecting passengers bound to/from the West Coast in San Antonio.

At first blush we seemed to like the idea but the problems with NS delays LAU <> BHM and ATN <> ATL makes this a no starter until those problems are fixed. For example #20 had to leave NOL 3 + hours today because of the very late  #19 yesterday causing crew not to have required length of layover.  The layover problem could be mitigated if  Amtrak made NOL the crew base.   There is no way NS is going to allow another Amtrak train BHM <> Meridian.  Meridian should become manned again with all the additional FTW route passengers.  Amtrak is going to need car persons either BHM or Meridian  to facilitate the combining splitting of the train as at least a class 2 brake test will be needed for each section or the combined train .That however does not address some other concerns.

Starting with sleepers.  We would guess that 4 sleepers would be needed  2 each to the end points giving 4 for the high use ATL <>WASH passengers.  As well at least 1 -2 more coaches to each destination.  That requires 8 additional sleepers  from new V-2s additions and 12- 16 coaches.  There are no AM-2s so AM-1s which would decrease level of service.  No AM-1s until Brightline coaches are available to displace or use Brightliners. NOL can remain with a commissary for restocking. However NOL layover needs more dwell times for possible equipment substitutions that will happen at least 1 -2 times a week.

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11 hours ago, NativeSon5859 said:

No it was just a normal iPhone emoji.

 

OK so there’s a bug.

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I just sort of realized that this discussion has gotten really far off from the topic “Amtrak Routes with Least Political Support”. Would it make sense for all this discussion about Crescent and TE extensions to be moved to its own thread? :)

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Perhaps just move those posts to the Future Prognostication thread that already exists?

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Well, in my mind pretty much everyone had settled on the Sunset Limited as the "route with the least political support." Rather than take a meat axe to my home town's last remaining passenger train, I wanted to come up with some ideas for revitalization and/or improvement.

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4 hours ago, Philly Amtrak Fan said:

Or in other words the only worthwhile portion of that train. 

You’ve made your point about the Cardinal and West Virginia, person who lives in a city served by four long distance Amtrak routes, six short and medium distance Amtrak routes, one NJ Transit route, and a solid 15+ SEPTA routes and services. :rolleyes:

Edited by cpotisch

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Or in other words the only worthwhile portion of that train. 


I live in Indy - so I’m very familiar with the Cardinal - and have ridden it many times - including many times to the east coast.

I’ll say this - West Virginia may not be very populated, but those folks are proud of their state - and they are proud of their 3 day a week train.

That comes across loud and clear almost every time I ride.

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