Amtrak's Lost Transcons

Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by Twin Star Rocket, Jun 25, 2019.

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  1. Jun 25, 2019 #1

    Twin Star Rocket

    Twin Star Rocket

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    TRAINS has a feature on this subject in its July 2019 issue. Bob Johnston covers trains we had in the West that are no longer part of the system. He also includes the NATIONAL LIMITED because of its Kansas City connection and through sleeping car.
     
  2. Jun 25, 2019 #2

    dogbert617

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    Speaking of the National Limited, what cities and towns did that train cover? And is there a certain archived timetable on the Museum of Amtrak Timetables website, that mentions this former train? I've been trying to find one on that site that mentions the former National Limited, but still hadn't found one yet. It was nice I recently discovered the May 1977 timetable on that website, does have the schedule for the now discontinued North Coast Hiawatha. Aka the train that more followed I-94 and I-90, through North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho, meeting up with the Empire Builder route in Sandpoint. Plus it had a different western Minnesota route than the EB, stopping in Breckinridge(across the river from Wahpeton, ND), Morris, and Willmar. Also, I found the schedule for the former Amtrak Arrowhead train(St. Paul-Duluth), from the May 1977 timetable.
     
  3. Jun 25, 2019 #3

    Philly Amtrak Fan

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  4. Jun 26, 2019 #4

    Twin Star Rocket

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    Basically the NATIONAL LIMITED covered a number of towns in Indiana and Ohio that have not been stops since the train was discontinued in 1979. Once it reached Pittsburgh it duplicated the route of the BROADWAY LIMITED.
     
  5. Jun 26, 2019 #5

    Twin Star Rocket

    Twin Star Rocket

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    The map with the TRAINS article is a bit misleading in showing routes in Washington state. For a time the NORTH COAST HIAWATHA (NCH) and EMPIRE BUILDER (EB) used the ex-NP and SP&S lines between Seattle, Pasco, and Spokane. Then the NCH went to the ex-GN line oddly enough and the EB stayed on the NP/SP&S lines. It was a historical flip-flop. I detailed the changes in the Timetable section of this discussion group.
    My only compensation in not waiting a day to catch the eastbound NCH in October 1976 is that I got to ride the ex-NP line across Washington state on the EB.
     
  6. Jun 26, 2019 #6

    dlagrua

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    IMO the discontinuance of the National Limited was one of Amtrak's biggest mistakes. It was the only direct single train route from New York to the cities of the Midwest, making stops at Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, St Louis and Kansas City.
     
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  7. Jun 26, 2019 #7

    dlagrua

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    IMO the discontinuance of the National Limited was one of Amtrak's biggest mistakes. It was the only direct single train route from New York to the cities of the Midwest, making stops at Columbus, Dayton, Cincinnati, Louisville, St Louis and Kansas City.
     
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  8. Jun 26, 2019 #8

    JustOnce

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    Even if Amtrak hadn't discontinued that train in 1979, I don't think it would have lasted much longer. The infrastructure was deteriorating and large sections of the ex-PRR/ex-PC/Conrail route along with its B&O predecessor route were abandoned later.

    It's a route that will probably never come back due to lack of infrastructure. Especially the Pittsburgh-Columbus connection.
    Example 1: original B&O routing (did not serve Columbus) is severed west of Parkersburg, WV
    Example 2: Amtrak routing (following PRR's Spirit of St. Louis) through Columbus: the line (ex-PRR/ex-PC/ex-CR Panhandle Route) is severed between Pittsburgh and Columbus
    Example 3: the B&O routing from Pittsburgh to Columbus that's visible on the National Limited map above is also severed.

    Intact lines:
    1. CSX still has an ex-Conrail line from Indianapolis to St. Louis and uses it for intermodal traffic. This line was spliced together from cherry-picked PRR and NYC trackage.
    2. Most of the ex-NYC "Big 4"
    3. The ex-B&O line between Cincinnati, Louisville, and St. Louis

    Remaining options:
    1. extension of the Cardinal: The Cardinal's already slow so this isn't a great idea
    2. ex-NYC Knickerbocker/Southwestern Limited: this was historically a slower, less-direct route and skips Columbus. The Water Level Route is intact along with the connections to Indianapolis (active intermodal route as I mentioned above).
    3.) Some hybrid of the Capital Limited/Broadway Limited/Three Rivers type routing west of Pittsburgh: run the ex-B&O (Chicago) line and switch off at Greenwich or the ex-PRR Fort Wayne Line and switch off at Crestline. The direct route won't serve Columbus. A more circuitous route can serve Columbus and Dayton but has to dip down to Hamilton before coming back up to Indianapolis. Or it can continue to Cincinnati.
     
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  9. Jun 26, 2019 #9

    igor

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    The National Limited didn't stop in Cincinnati or Louisville.
     
  10. Jun 26, 2019 #10

    Philly Amtrak Fan

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    Maybe he was thinking of the old B&O National Limited which served Cincinnati and St. Louis:
    https://www.american-rails.com/national.html

    Was there ever a line that served Cincinnati and Louisville directly? We know there was never an Amtrak line that did. Amtrak has never had service between Cincinnati and Louisville, Columbus, Cleveland, Pittsburgh, or St. Louis because everyone knows Cincinnatians really would rather travel to Newport News, VA and that line is more important.
     
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  11. Jun 26, 2019 #11

    Bob Dylan

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    Long time No Post Philly! Guess your campaign to Kill the Cardinal is History eh?!!!
     
  12. Jun 26, 2019 #12

    Seaboard92

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    There were direct trains between Cincinnati and Louisville at one time on two different routes.

    I have a map of the routes. If someone will remind me when I get off work after six I’ll post a link to it for all of you to analyze. Currently the United States is 75 percent completed. The only major regions I’m still working on are New England, and the southern plains.

    In fact all of the current Amtrak system has been completed with the exception of the California Zephyr over the Rio Grande portion, the Downeaster, Vermonter south of Bellows Falls to Springfield, and the Texas Eagle.

    What you will see in there most of our long haul trains used to be corridors. Between New York and St Louis both the Pennsylvania and the New York Central both offered at minimum two to three trains each way per day. And New York to Chicago was upwards of ten per day over portions of the route.

    And there is a route from Pittsburgh to Columbus intact to this day. It’s part of the G&W shortline group but it is there.
     
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  13. Jun 26, 2019 #13

    Dakota 400

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    I boarded the National Limited in Dayton bound for New York (and return) in 1979. Your comment about the deteriorating of the infrastructure is correct. From Dayton to Pittsburgh, it was a bumpy ride. Union Station in Columbus was "no more" and was replaced by some type of shed, as I saw it. My Roomette was the "pull down from the wall and cover the toilet" Pullman type. There was a nice Lounge Car and Diner, but they were not very up to date. The rail route East of Dayton along U. S. 35 is now a bike path/walking train. I am truly glad that I chose to take the train and had a chance to ride on the National Limited before it went out of service.
     
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