Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

  1. Jun 21, 2017 #1

    MARC Rider

    M

    MARC Rider

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Apr 5, 2011
    Messages:
    1,112
    Location:
    Baltimore. MD
    It got so hot in Phoenix yesterday that the planes couldn't take off!

    What would they need to to to start up rail service? (and not just the Sunset three days a week, but full daily service to nearby cities.) Maybe they should set up a satellite airport in Flagstaff, which at a much higher elevation presumably is a bit cooler, and run a train between Phoenix and Flagstaff. Was there ever a rail line between the two cities? I drove it once and recall having to cross a pretty major escarpment.

    This sort of thing could happen in other cities across the southern US more in the future. Perhaps it might be a good idea to have a rail alternative. Of course, the trains will be delayed because of heat kinks. Well, you can't have everything. :)
     
  2. Jun 21, 2017 #2

    KmH

    KmH

    KmH

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 6, 2014
    Messages:
    2,055
    Location:
    Is this heaven? No. It's Iowa.
    Mostly the smaller regional planes. They have trouble developing lift on hot days because the hot air is less dense.

    At higher altitude, like Flagstaff, the air is also less dense.

    The airlines could do like mid-east country airlines do - schedule arrivals and departures at night or early morning when the air temperature is lower.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 21, 2017
  3. Jun 21, 2017 #3

    brianpmcdonnell17

    brianpmcdonnell17

    brianpmcdonnell17

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,101
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    The elevation is higher, but the temperature is more than a bit cooler. In July, the average temperature in Phoenix is 94.8 compared to only 66.1 in Flagstaff. The temperatures in Flagstaff during the summer are actually cooler than any major American city off of the immediate West Coast.
     
  4. Jun 21, 2017 #4

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

    AmtrakBlue

    Conductor Gathering Team Member

    Joined:
    May 6, 2011
    Messages:
    10,893
    Location:
    Delaware
    He was t talking about temps. Higher elevations have thinner air than lower elevations.
     
  5. Jun 21, 2017 #5

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    As a(n inactive) pilot, the phrase you need to search for is, "density altitude." As I write this post at 10:38 am Mountain Standard Time, the density altitude in Phoenix (with elevation of 1135' MSL and current temperature of 102F) is 4218 feet. The density altitude in Flagstaff (with elevation of 7014' MSL and current temperature of 87F) is 8493 feet...more than twice as high. It would take much more runway to take off in Flagstaff, and a small plane like the ones I used to fly might not even be able to manage it at all if fully loaded.
     
  6. Jun 21, 2017 #6

    railiner

    railiner

    railiner

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 20, 2009
    Messages:
    7,058
    Location:
    Queens, NY
    Here's a video showing trains on the BNSF "Peavine line"...

     
  7. Jun 22, 2017 #7

    west point

    w

    west point

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,767
    Phoenix (PHX) - LAX service would need the restoration of the rail line that was abandoned by UP from PHX ( actually Litchfield ? ) - Wellton (rejoining the sunset route. What if someone paid for restoring this segment and charged UP anytime they sent trains over the route on a per car basis ? Then only normal Amtrak rights from Wellton - LAX. Then if you can get all that done you just have to get more equipment.
     
  8. Jun 24, 2017 #8

    Anthony V

    Anthony V

    Anthony V

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    159
    The line wasn't fully abandoned (the tracks are still there), but was downgraded by the UP around the time they took over the Southern Pacific. UP still uses it for freight car storage.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2017
  9. Jun 24, 2017 #9

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    the_traveler

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Nov 15, 2007
    Messages:
    25,540
    Location:
    Whatever siding I'm sitting on!
    If Amtrak did restore that line, they would be responsible for maintenance of the line, unless they could reach some agreement with UP. (Just like NM and BNSF did for the Goleta Pass.) But with 3x service, it would not be economical feasible. There is a rail line off the BNSF trans-con to PHX, but it circles far west before returning east (due to the 4,000 foot drop in a straight line) and is very slow.
     
  10. Jun 24, 2017 #10

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    I wonder what the possibility is of resuming service through Phoenix via the former ATSF Cadiz cutoff? The Sunset's route into Phoenix from the east is still in good shape, and Santa Fe used to take through cars from Phoenix off the Peavine and route them up to the transcontinental main line at Cadiz to join with the California Limited. It wasn't time-competitive with SP's Sunset (9:45 from Phoenix to Barstow via Cadiz), but then again the present schedule isn't very passenger-friendly between PHX (well, MRC!) and LAX. Suppose the Sunset was combined with the SWC into Fullerton and LAX?
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2017
  11. Jun 24, 2017 #11

    west point

    w

    west point

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,767
    Maintenance of the line would be entirely up to an agreement. If an agreement like Capital corridor has with UP all the better. It might be agreed that the line would be maintained to say 90 or 110 MPH. Any faster would require it to be sealed which would not be feasible. Some kind of agreement would need a contingency for what happens to maintenance when UP uses it for freight. That will happen because sooner or later the route going by Maricopa will get blocked or UP will use the route routinely for traffic towards LAX.
     
  12. Jun 24, 2017 #12

    WoodyinNYC

    W

    WoodyinNYC

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2013
    Messages:
    1,515
    Location:
    NYC
    This thread seems to be open to wild-ass speculation, so here's another:

    California has been seriously studying putting a couple of trains on the L.A.-Fullerton-Palm Springs-Indio corridor, with a vague mention of future trains to Phoenix. The state is in no position to spend big money here, not while the CAHSR project is sucking up all the funds. But the day may come ...

    Of course, the UP is not welcoming more passenger trains on its main line, and nobody is saying, "Next stop Yuma" -- not just yet. Meanwhile Interstate 10 leaves the Sunset route and heads east for 200 miles, crossing the Colorado at Blythe before arriving in Phoenix, a much more direct route than via Yuma to the south.

    We'll see how it goes with CAHSR first, but L.A.-Phoenix via Blythe could easily be the second HRS route from California. In that case, any money spent restoring Phoenix (Litchfield)-Yuma (Wellton) could be a big waste.
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2017
  13. Jul 12, 2017 #13

    TML

    T

    TML

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Jun 23, 2009
    Messages:
    101
    I personally would like to see that like west of Phoenix reactivated. I think all it takes for this to happen is sufficient political will.

    In terms of costs, I've seen different figures from different sources. For example, a 2005 study conducted by the Southwest Rail Corridor Coalition stated that it would cost about $32 million to improve the segment between Phoenix and Yuma for "basic" Amtrak service (i.e. service as it was before 1996) and $107 million to make further improvements to accommodate multiple daily train service. However, more recent studies by the Arizona DOT suggest that it would cost several hundred million dollars (presumably due to higher standards). Nonetheless, if the track were to be torn up, it would cost even more (perhaps with litigation involved) to rebuild it.

    In terms of building a new rail line from Phoenix to Southern California, I would support it if it (among other things) allows Amtrak to return to Phoenix proper. However, if funding is relatively low, I would recommend focusing on rehabilitating the existing track first.
     
  14. Jul 12, 2017 #14

    neroden

    n

    neroden

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7,209
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    The political will for restoring service to downtown Phoenix, in both Phoenix and Arizona as a whole, seems to be missing. I have no idea why. Just no traction at all.

    I wonder if it would be more effective now that Phoenix has a large local rail system and Tucson has a small one. Probably not: they still don't seem to be able to get traction for Phoenix-Tuscon rail, or even commuter rail to Wickenburg, and Amtrak seems to be totally outside their attention. I think we have better odds of getting a day train from Cleveland to Chicago.
     
  15. Jul 12, 2017 #15

    west point

    w

    west point

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2015
    Messages:
    1,767
    Ignoring the equipment available issues what would a Tucson - PHX - Yuma - LAX daytime daily train(s) entail ? There seems to be a real market there ?
     
  16. Jul 12, 2017 #16

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    ehbowen

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 23, 2011
    Messages:
    1,826
    Location:
    Houston, Texas
    Someone with a lot of money and someone with a lot of authority who really want to make it happen. Unlikely that the two someones are the same person (but, theoretically, possible).
     
  17. Jul 13, 2017 #17

    Poindexter118

    P

    Poindexter118

    Train Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2002
    Messages:
    73
    Location:
    San Pedro,CA
    I took Amtrak from L.A. to Flagstaff, and then rented a car to drive to Phoenix. The train from L.A. to Flag was a nice trip. It strikes me as funny that Amtrak has a train to Tucson. That city is smaller than Phoenix. I wonder why.
     
  18. Jul 13, 2017 #18

    brianpmcdonnell17

    brianpmcdonnell17

    brianpmcdonnell17

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Mar 6, 2016
    Messages:
    1,101
    Location:
    Chicago, Illinois
    Amtrak runs most routes on tracks operated by freight railroads. The route through Tucson, the Sunset Limited, operates on the Union Pacific. In the past, the Sunset Limited did operate to Phoenix until Union Pacific decided to abandon the line connecting Phoenix to Yuma, where it met the current route. The future ideas discussed in this thread primarily involve restoring that line so the Sunset Limited or a corridor train can once again serve Phoenix.
     
  19. Jul 13, 2017 #19

    Shawn Ryu

    S

    Shawn Ryu

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Jul 26, 2010
    Messages:
    1,092
    Location:
    NYC or Chicago
    Would be dumb to spend all that money restoring tracks just for Amtrak. Reckon if it was to happen, would involve commuter rail for Phoenix.
     
  20. Jul 17, 2017 #20

    dogbert617

    d

    dogbert617

    Lead Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Aug 19, 2016
    Messages:
    263
    Location:
    Chicago, IL
    I wonder if there's not enough political will to restore the Goodyear/Litchfield(?)-Wellton track that UP downgraded in the 1990s(and forced Amtrak to reroute to Maricopa), if the light rail system for the Phoenix area could be expanded to Maricopa? I noticed there is a line to at least Tempe and Mesa, but don't know if there has ever been talk about expanding light rail service south? It'd be interesting if there at least was bus service, between Maricopa and Phoenix. I also wonder if Uber/Lyft serves Maricopa?

    Arizona does seem like the kind of state government that'd probably be lukewarm to providing a lot of support to Amtrak, but what do I know? Somehow I suspect it'd be easier for commuter rail service to begin servicing Palm Springs(and that immediate area) than it would for more Amtrak service there, but what do I know about the local political situation there in regards to possible expanded rail service to this area?
     
  21. Jul 17, 2017 #21

    Eric S

    E

    Eric S

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2009
    Messages:
    2,430
    Location:
    Milwaukee
    Light rail service to Maricopa? I just can't see it. Maricopa is way beyond what I'd consider a reasonable extension of Valley Metro light rail service. Given that there isn't even local bus service in Maricopa (as best I can tell), the recently-started Thruway connection between Maricopa - Tempe - Phoenix is probably going to have to suffice.

    Palm Springs? California has been studying additional rail service from Los Angeles to the Coachella Valley. Most recently the thought had been 2 Amtrak roundtrips/day, but the cost numbers were, uh, not promising.
     
  22. Jul 17, 2017 #22

    bretton88

    b

    bretton88

    OBS Chief

    Joined:
    Mar 15, 2009
    Messages:
    961
    Any political will is being spent on Phoenix to Tuscon rail plans, though I think the cost #s have caused everyone to even step back from that.
    Sent from my SM-N920P using Tapatalk
     
  23. Jul 18, 2017 #23

    neroden

    n

    neroden

    Conductor

    Joined:
    Feb 23, 2014
    Messages:
    7,209
    Location:
    Ithaca, NY
    Phoenix-Tucson is cheap at <$5 billion, which can be bonded over 20 or 30 years. (AZDOT spends $3 billion per year.) But the state government is still fairly road-obsessed.
     
  24. Jul 24, 2017 #24

    Lonestar648

    L

    Lonestar648

    Conductor AU Supporter

    Joined:
    May 17, 2015
    Messages:
    2,628
    To add Phoenix, the SL would have to be a daily train first, then the Arizona political power would have to back the project. If the UP is using the west bound track for car storage, it still exists, but to what quality of repair? Arizona would need to put up money for Station upgrading or rebuilding. Being that John McCain is extremely anti-Amtrak, I see this proposal failing until new blood is elected that is open to rail transportation.
     
  25. Jul 24, 2017 #25

    Anthony V

    Anthony V

    Anthony V

    Service Attendant

    Joined:
    Mar 10, 2016
    Messages:
    159
    I think the Sunset Limited not being daily was a major reason there was no interest in doing what was necessary to keep the train directly serving Phoenix back in 1996. If the SL ever goes daily (unlikely to happen anytime soon, unfortunately), there may be more of a push to bring the train back to Phoenix proper, especially considering the problems at the Maricopa station. The West Line's tracks were never torn up, so it will be much easier to restore it than it would've been if it would've been totally abandoned. UP still uses them for freight car storage.
     

Share This Page



arrow_white