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ParanoidAndroid

New (actually not) idea: The Desert Pioneer

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I encountered an old thread (didn't bother to find it) that mentioned an overnight LAX-LVS, then daytime to Idaho, then overnight to Portland train.
LAX 11:10pm 7:15am
LVS 6:10a/6:30a 10:30p/11:15p
SLC 4:00p/4:20p 2:40p/3:00p
Boise 12:10am 6:30am
Pendleton 6:25am 10:30pm
PDX 11:00am 6:15pm
Based off of 1996 Pioneer & DW schedules.
Something like this would return service to Vegas, allow passengers to ride the train to SW Utah (via Milford to the various nat'l parks there), and it basically eliminates the problem that the train takes too long to go from LA to Vegas (cause you'd be asleep). Idaho is also served at a better time of day. Connections east/west are broken at SLC, which is the main downside.

If I can continue dreaming, then here's this connecting train east via Wyoming:
SLC 8:00pm 6:30am
DEN 9:00a/10:40a 3:45p/5:30p
OMA 8:29p/8:44p 7:25a/7:35a
CHI 6:20am 10:30pm

I wonder how popular this would be. This opens up a bunch of new possible riders if it can be done.

Another edit: If the tracks to Boise aren't open, then just serve Nampa (unfortunately).

Edited by ParanoidAndroid

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The LAX-CHI appears to be a "reincarnation" of UP #6. That was an unnamed "primarily Mail & Express", which within my memory, had an LAX-LVS Sleeper line.

 

By the time I got to ride #6 LVS-SLC during October 1968, the Mail was gone and the Express was handled as freight. All that remained was two Coaches.

 

At one time, there was a UP LAX-PDX train named "The West Coast", which predated even me. I think your proposed schedule resembles such.

 

The Butte Special was still around for me to ride during January 1969. That left SLC about 830P arriving Butte at the NP Station 830A (I had no idea that 18mo later, I'd be working for the MILW and would see more of that ----hole than I would ever care to).

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

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The LAX-CHI appears to be a "reincarnation" of UP #6. That was an unnamed "primarily Mail & Express", which within my memory, had an LAX-LVS Sleeper line.

 

By the time I got to ride #6 LVS-SLC during October 1968, the Mail was gone and the Express was handled as freight. All that remained was two Coaches.

 

At one time, there was a UP LAX-PDX train named "The West Coast", which predated even me. I think your proposed schedule resembles such.

 

The Butte Special was still around for me to ride during January 1969. That left SLC about 830P arriving Butte at the NP Station 830A (I had no idea that 18mo later, I'd be working for the MILW and would see more of that ----hole than I would ever care to).

The first time I went to Butte, was on NP No. 25, the North Coast Limited. I remember it was a fantastic approach in the evening, coming down the mountain, seeing the lights of the city, as if in a landing airliner. I only spent one night there, so didn't get a chance to really get to know the city. Regarding the Butte Special...did you ride in the Pullman car, with its own grill for breakfast?

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

A better proposal would probably be bringing back the City of Everywhere. Chicago to SLC as one large combined train, then splitting the train at SLC/Ogden with one section going to Portland and one section going to LAX. I'd suggest sending them combined with the Zephyr to Denver with a split there, but I don't think Union Station could handle such a large train anymore.

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

A better proposal would probably be bringing back the City of Everywhere. Chicago to SLC as one large combined train, then splitting the train at SLC/Ogden with one section going to Portland and one section going to LAX. I'd suggest sending them combined with the Zephyr to Denver with a split there, but I don't think Union Station could handle such a large train anymore.
If a train were to be split in Denver, a length issue could be solved by doing all station work while the train is in its separate segments. Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

A better proposal would probably be bringing back the City of Everywhere. Chicago to SLC as one large combined train, then splitting the train at SLC/Ogden with one section going to Portland and one section going to LAX. I'd suggest sending them combined with the Zephyr to Denver with a split there, but I don't think Union Station could handle such a large train anymore.
If a train were to be split in Denver, a length issue could be solved by doing all station work while the train is in its separate segments.
The problem there is that Denver Union Station has only 2 tracks that can accommodate superliners at this time. All other tracks are high level to host commuter trains.

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Regarding the Butte Special...did you ride in the Pullman car, with its own grill for breakfast?

I did, and I had Breakfast from the "Broiler Buffet". I don't think Dining was ever Pullman's strong suit.

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

A better proposal would probably be bringing back the City of Everywhere. Chicago to SLC as one large combined train, then splitting the train at SLC/Ogden with one section going to Portland and one section going to LAX. I'd suggest sending them combined with the Zephyr to Denver with a split there, but I don't think Union Station could handle such a large train anymore.
If a train were to be split in Denver, a length issue could be solved by doing all station work while the train is in its separate segments.
The problem there is that Denver Union Station has only 2 tracks that can accommodate superliners at this time. All other tracks are high level to host commuter trains.
That's true, but the train would only require two tracks (one for the current route and one for the Wyoming route). If the current CZ schedule is kept and no other trains were added, the only times platform space would be an issue would be when the Ski Train is operating or there is an extremely late CZ, which is rare. The Ski Train could be scheduled so it arrives just prior to the CZ as it is unlikely to be significantly late due to its short route. Edited by brianpmcdonnell17

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Interesting proposal, but I think it would be better to use the former Pioneer/Desert Wind schedules, with thru service to/from Chicago, if service was ever to be restored on those routes.

I don't think you would get much thru Los Angeles to Portland traffic on your proposal, other than a few railfans, or curious tourists, that have already 'done' the Coast Starlight route.

A better proposal would probably be bringing back the City of Everywhere. Chicago to SLC as one large combined train, then splitting the train at SLC/Ogden with one section going to Portland and one section going to LAX. I'd suggest sending them combined with the Zephyr to Denver with a split there, but I don't think Union Station could handle such a large train anymore.

 

While it would be nice to service Wyoming again, by splitting off the Pioneer at Denver, I think it would be better at first, to run it all together and do the three way split at SLC, as was done in the eighties...

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If only there was a way to speed up SLC-CHI... it is regrettable that Salt Lake City is served at such poor times, especially eastbound. Also, Milford is a bit far and small to actually be a viable option for visiting the area. There is no rental car agency in Milford, nor Caliente. Perhaps a small shuttle would work. Those parks around there are popular.

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If you reroute the train via Wyoming, you tend to get somewhat better times at SLC (IIRC the Overland Route is about 2-3 hours quicker than the Rio Grande line, so SLC would have WB times around 2100-2200 and EB times around 0600...not perfect, but at least not smack in the middle of the night.

If Amtrak had the equipment (ha!), there might be a case to be made for running a "stub" section to Grand Junction with several coaches, an SSL (perhaps with boxed meals for premium accommodation pax...this section does scream out for some sort of intemediate class of service between the sleeper and coach), and a through sleeper from Chicago, and an Ambus Grand Junction-Salt Lake...I can't speak to numbers, but IIRC Denver-Grand Junction and Denver-Glenwood Springs are major pairs while west of Grand Junction starts the "ridership crater" that continues to Reno.

With that being said...yes, the "City of Everywhere" approach is probably the best unless you could get the funding/support for a full-blown second CHI-West Coast train on the route...something not likely even under the best of circumstances.

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While it would be nice to have a second train across the middle of the country, serving different stations, agreed highly unlikely, when the SW Chief is itself struggling to stay alive...

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While it would be nice to have a second train across the middle of the country, serving different stations, agreed highly unlikely, when the SW Chief is itself struggling to stay alive...

I thought the big issue with the SWC, was the lack of positive train control plans to start installing that system on the western Kansas/SE Colorado/northern NM part of it? And THAT exact issue, is what threatens to reroute the SW Chief after December 2018. On a different thread someone proposed rerouting it west/south of Trinidad, and then relocating the Albuquerque station(a la Maricopa, AZ when Phoenix was ended as a stop on Sunset Limited due to the tracks getting in worser shape) to a different part of town. I wish I remembered which new northern NM cities it'd serve, in that person's proposal.

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While it would be nice to have a second train across the middle of the country, serving different stations, agreed highly unlikely, when the SW Chief is itself struggling to stay alive...

I thought the big issue with the SWC, was the lack of positive train control plans to start installing that system on the western Kansas/SE Colorado/northern NM part of it? And THAT exact issue, is what threatens to reroute the SW Chief after December 2018. On a different thread someone proposed rerouting it west/south of Trinidad, and then relocating the Albuquerque station(a la Maricopa, AZ when Phoenix was ended as a stop on Sunset Limited due to the tracks getting in worser shape) to a different part of town. I wish I remembered which new northern NM cities it'd serve, in that person's proposal.

 

No cities of real significance in NM, in that re-route proposal...however it would serve Amarillo, Tx., which is.

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I think that a pioneer should go through Wyoming and merge with the CZ at Denver.

Sorry, like I've told some other's on this board....you were just "born too late"... :P

 

But don't let me discourage you from expressing your idea's.... :)

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I think that a pioneer should go through Wyoming and merge with the CZ at Denver.

Sorry, like I've told some other's on this board....you were just "born too late"... :P

 

But don't let me discourage you from expressing your idea's.... :)

Yep... I'm in that group too. Born too late for trains. Even post-1971, there were passenger trains on Vancouver Island, up to Whistler, in Mexico, on Newfoundland, to Gaspé, more on Nova Scotia, and of course the Desert Wind, Pioneer, Int'l Limited, Floridian, Mountaineer, Sunset East, and more. All gone, unable to be appreciated. :angry:

 

Given the situation, we're lucky enough to have cross-country overnight trains at all.

Edited by ParanoidAndroid

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Desert Wind and Pioneer were not part of the original Amtrak system. Nor was Sunset East or even the Lake Shore Limited. Then again several of the original system trains are gone too, like the Broadway, the National and the Lone Star.

Edited by jis

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On 8/19/2018 at 3:18 AM, ParanoidAndroid said:

Yep... I'm in that group too. Born too late for trains. Even post-1971, there were passenger trains on Vancouver Island, up to Whistler, in Mexico, on Newfoundland, to Gaspé, more on Nova Scotia, and of course the Desert Wind, Pioneer, Int'l Limited, Floridian, Mountaineer, Sunset East, and more. All gone, unable to be appreciated. :angry:

 

Given the situation, we're lucky enough to have cross-country overnight trains at all.

Sad that China is building tracks and we can't even serve Houston in the daylight.

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Arrrrg! I meant daily.
Yeah... even daily is way below adequate, but we can't even do that. Even three-a-week is way below adequate, but we can't even do that for a lot of America's large cities. Oh well. It's hard to establish rail in rural areas because yes, indeed, a once a day dinky train isn't that useful. But a multiple departures a day, state-supported route is robust and useful. But one has to go through the dinky useless phase first, which few like to do. California and Illinois, for example, did this, and now have nice state-supported routes. A lot of other states haven't, and so they don't have trains. Some are just lucky (if you call it that) to have long distance trains.

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On 1/2/2019 at 12:48 AM, frequentflyer said:

City to Everwhere is a bad idea. Have you seen Amtrak's ontime record lately? Imagine the delays of trying to have three trains arrive on or near on time.

Seems to me City to Everywhere would be the one time the host railroad would see to it the train didn't get stabbed.  "Gentlemen, we'd love to run a combined train, but if we can't make it work we'll just have to take more slots on your railroad...."

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