Discussion in 'Amtrak Rail Discussion' started by edjbox, May 16, 2014.
Anyone have a complete list of future Amtrak routes that will begin within the next 4-5 years???
Not totally true. Chicago to Quad Cities and Chicago to Rockford. Thats about it really.
Saxman is basically correct: the two new Illinois services.
There's also a chance the Ethan Allen Express might be extended from Rutland, VT to Burlington, VT within the 5-year horizon. Vermont has not been setting a date for this but they've been pouring money in as fast as they can scrape it up, and it's getting close.
Other than that, new Amtrak routes are not happening in the near future. There are a number of *improvements* to *existing routes* which should happen in the next 5 years, which I listed in another thread. I actually tend to think improving the existing routes is more important.
Service between Nada and Zip.
I do wish they would restore the segment of the Sunset Limited from Florida to New Orleans.
5 years would be 2019 and I think North Carolina wants another Piedmont roundtrip by then.
Don't forget the extension of the "Lynchburg Special" to Roanoke!
Isn't there some talk about the Vermonter becoming the Montrealer again.
There are various categories: routes or service extensions that are funded and pretty well set to happen in 4-5 years to those are in the plans but could get delayed to that have strong support but are not yet sure things.
Going to happen:
-Chicago to Quad Cities in 2016 (or 2017)
-Chicago to Rockford or Dubuque
-Virginia Regional extended to Roanoke in 2017
Going to happen IMO but date is uncertain
-Ethan Allen extended to Burlington
-Vermonter extended to Montreal (as a day train)
-Return of the Inland Route Regionals
Strong possibility as there is robust support or efforts for it (although some here will scoff)
-Coast Daylight SF to LA
-Portland Maine to NYC train via the Inland Route
-Twin Cities to Chicago corridor train
Difficult to get a read on the chances of these happening in the next 6-8 years
-Silver service split train running on the FEC
-Boston to Montreal train
-Coachella Valley/Palm Springs CA corridor service
-Dallas to Shreveport
-Heartland Flyer extension to Kansas
This list by the way is for Amtrak service only. There is All Aboard Florida for Miami to Orlando Airport in 2016 (or 2017) and a range of possible commuter rail extensions. Also does not include service frequency expansions.
Great! There'll finally be a route within striking distance for me.
5 years from now money will still be going down the toilet for the endless studies on extending the Heartland Flyer into Kansas.
For sure new routes:
Chicago to Atlanta to Florida.
LAX to Las Vegas
NYC to Richmond to Roanoke to Chattanooga to Atlanta.
El Paso to Albuquerque to Denver
Chicago to Milwaukee to Madison to MSP.
Umphh! Oh, honey, thanks for waking me up. I was having this strange dream.
Well, maybe not 4-5 years, but within the next 20 years maybe at least a couple of these routes will become a reality.
What are the chances of the Downeaster route extending to Bangor?
Not in the next five years. Maine certainly seems interested in doing it *eventually*, but they have some consolidation to do right now (track upgrades on the existing route etc.)
I suspect you're more likely to see additional service to Portland (and/or Brunswick) before you see anything further up at this point.
That's not nice! :angry:
Sad to say, we MISSED the days of easy and frequent rail travel in the United States....i was there for the last of it....This country is now in a rapid economic decline of unemployment and debt, and our American banks and corporations are investing in ASIA, not in the USA....there will thus be NO government funds for increased rail...if anything, we will have less passenger rail in the future. Maybe i am wrong, i hope so.
I believe the proposal of extending to Lewiston/Auburn is still on the table at this point, but it most likely won't be within 5 years. I'd give it within 10 though.
I'm optimistic because I'm pessimistic.
Let me explain. Now that we've reached peak oil, automobiles are *expensive* to operate, and even asphalt is getting more expensive.
As countries get poorer, they stop being able to afford single-user automobiles. And buses are pretty darn expensive to operate too. If you've got a lot of people to move, *trains are cheaper*. As a result, we can expect to see more train service.
Now, this doesn't always happen in extremely poor countries. Trains require a country where people are well-to-do enough that they aren't stealing the clips which hold the rails down. Trains also require a fairly organized and functional government; at the extreme, passenger service tends to go away during long-running civil wars; short of that, a series of coups will tend to prevent expansion of service.
But on the whole, thanks to peak oil, the trend is good for passenger rail *everywhere*. For example, Nigeria has been expanding its passenger rail services, and is continuing to do so. Their cars are newer than Amtrak's, though not in good condition. http://www.punchng.com/special-feature/on-nigerian-trains-passengers-are-like-refugees-2/
So even if we sink into third-world status, as long as we manage to retain functional and relatively stable governments at some level -- and it doesn't have to be the federal level -- I expect passenger rail service to increase. We'll probably fall behind Brazil, because Brazil and many other countries will expand much faster than the US, but in absolute terms we will see more service.
The proposed Lewiston/Auburn service has been mostly in the context of a commuter or shuttle service train to Portland and not as an extension or branch of the Downeaster. The service expansion could be to extend the Downeaster to Augusta, but that would likely be in the context of extending 1 or 2 daily trains, not all of them. If service to Bangor is mentioned at all, it is as a way off in the future goal. Extending service just to Augusta won't be inexpensive.
However, as neroden stated above, any service extension is not in the near term. First, NNEPRA has to get pass the NIMBYs and build the maintenance facility in Brunswick. There is a proposed track connection project in Portland that would cut about 10 minutes from the travel times from Portland to Brunswick which is not yet funded. There are funded track improvements projects in MA which will cut trip times and improve on-time reliability, but the MBTA appears to be taking a long time to complete those projects. So the focus in the near term is on improving and cutting trip times to Portland and Brunswick for the current service. A train service to NYP does not require track improvements in Maine, just rolling stock and waiting on MBTA and MassDOT to complete planned improvements in Massachusetts.
There are government funds for increased rail, even with the House Republicans having cut off the "High" speed rail funding. The TIGER grants have provided some funds over the past several years. Amtrak got $1.39 billion in the FY2014 appropriations; not as much as it needs, but received an increase in capital funding over FY2013. There are certainly a decent amount of federal, state, and local funds being spent to expand rail transit and commuter rail systems across the US. Should be more, but there are still an impressive range of local transit system projects that will expand the range of transit systems for intercity passenger rail service to connect to.
The reality is that there is support for expanding intercity passenger rail. But it is mostly concentrated in various regions of the US. I think we will see a robust expansion of passenger rail in New England, including into New Hampshire over the next several decades. Restoration of train service to Manchester and Concord NH might not be through Amtrak, though, but through the MBTA. Other regions for passenger rail expansion are the Mid-Atlantic states; IL, MI, MO, MN in the Midwest; California, OR, WA for the west coast. And Texas and Florida.
As for the federal budget deficit, you do know that the annual deficit has been shrinking? Would be interested to ask those who express extreme concern and fear on the budget deficit what the current projected federal deficit is for FY2014. I bet few of them will even be in the ballpark because of the doom and fear tactics taken by certain networks and political groups. While still large, the CBO's latest projection for FY2014 is a deficit of $492 billion and 2.8% of GDP. The 2.8% of GDP is relevant because if the deficit were to fall to, say, 2% of GDP while GDP has a year with 3% growth, the total deficit shrinks as a share of GDP. The federal budget deficit is a fixable and manageable issue.
Really hope so, that would be great!
with the late running eb we once again have daylight running between spk-sea/pdx just like in the pre-amtrak days. be wonderful to maintain that. i'll just enjoy it while it lasts
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