Discussion in 'Amtrak’s Future: Member Ideas and Discussion' started by StriderGDM, Apr 4, 2015.
Yes, or build new ROW through populated areas! ( Utah Central RR?)
Kinda strange how the population did not follow the railroad there like in other places.
Well, if you're talking farming, there's also this thing called "water"....
Well, first and foremost, I think most of the thinking on here is kind of old school. What I’m reading is what could be done with today’s infrastructure and today’s Amtrak. In my opinion, today’s Amtrak is about yo fall apart without new rolling stock and very significant investment. I really think we are at a place in history where we can make history, (or at least start) and join or even lead rail technology. We need an idea that would be on par to the start of the National Highway System. Yes, money is an issue, but we need to take an approach that takes us to the next century. One that keeps us as a leader in the world.
First, we need to start with a NEW, TRUE, DEDICATED, HIGH SPEED line form CHI-CLE-PIT-NYC&WAS and maybe PHL eventually. This would be a very limited stop route, where regional services could connect to it. Running time from CHI-NYC would need to be kept in the <8 hour range, to start, with improvements to less than 6 hours being the goal. Yes, that would be around a 100mph average, to start (taking station stop times into consideration). This is the only way we are going to convince people to leave the car at home and to not just take an airplane.
Second, this concept would be applied to the biggest hole in the Amtrak system and the one with a high number of population centers, The Floridian. Chicago-Indy-Louisville-Nashville-Chattanooga-Atlanta-Orlando-Miami. This line would need to be kept to about 10 hours running time from CHI-MIA. But just imagine the potential in this corridor with quality high speed service.
After these initial corridors are established, then we could look at adding more. LAX-SEA, CHI-DFW-HOU- MIA-BOS, just to name a few. As for corridors with desirable or scenic established train service, then let truly private companies take over those trains to be run basically on a scenic/tourist level. This will let the marketplace determine the true need and costs for those trains.
Third, for feeders and areas that just don’t warrant high speed service, we need to figure out a better partnership with host freight railroads to achieve better running times AND reliable ON TIME PERFORMANCE!!! The alternative to this would be to start condemning easements along existing tracks for pax only ROWs. Facts are facts and compared to most of the industrial world, our trains today are abysmal. So why do we want to try and expand today’s pathetic services?
Now that the new equipment rules have *finally* been published by the FRA, it becomes plausible to build segments of high-speed track and connect them to existing track at either end. It's a decent idea.
However, the top priority for Amtrak IMO should be getting exclusive passenger tracks heading out of Chicago to the east, to somewhere in the Indiana countryside. It benefits everything, directly or indirectly. The right-of-way is present. It just requires money and will.
I'll take more of a look into the 3C. As for E/W service, I had something....somewhere....
Did not intend to cut the Builder ! And before anyone asks, yes, the Vancouver-Seattle segment is also still included.
Also, thanks for the heads up about LV-DEN. I'll make changes accordingly.
I don't believe this has been posted here yet, even though it's a year old.
image source - midwestrailplan.org
But to get an idea of where the Midwest states are regarding future routes/upgrades, here's a draft version of a future regional network, drawn up by the FRA and the Midwest state DOTs, which took them nearly a year to hammer out. They consider it a non-binding Tier 0 document, as it's nothing but an attempt to get all regional players together on the same page.
The term "high-speed rail" is out, replaced with "high performance rail", offering three levels of service-
Core Express - Speeds over 125 MPH, frequent service, dedicated tracks, electrified, projected OTP of 99%.
Regional - Speeds 90 - 125 MPH, frequent service, running on a combination of dedicated and shared tracks, projected OTP of 95%
Emerging - Speeds up to 90 MPH, less frequent service than Core Express/Regional, shared tracks, projected OTP of 85%.
A few observations-
-The only route that is exclusively Core Express is Chicago-Milwaukee-Madison-Twin Cities, though CHI-DET, CHI-STL, and CHI-IND could be upgraded to Core Express if needed.
-No direct CHI - KC service (save the Southwest Chief).
-No route to Buffalo, but there is a regional route to Louisville and Nashville.
-Chicago-Grand Rapids via Kalamazoo, not by the current Pere Marquette route.
-The Illinois Circumferential route (Quad Cities-Galesburg-Peoria-Bloomington-Champaign) made it into the plan, as did Michigan's Coast2Coast.
-Though listed as Network Independent, those looking to re-establish some form of the National Limited might be encouraged that St Louis-Indy made it onto the map.
-Not sure what the point would be in re-routing Chicago-Quincy through Bloomington, instead of just upgrading the current route, as that would improve performance on a future Chicago-Omaha route as well.
Here's a link to the planning documents that they released during the process.
And a link to the report that contains the draft network map.
Hasn't changed significantly since the plans I saw circa 2006. It's a perfectly good plan if anyone will ever come up with any money.
My E/W plans connecting Chicago to the NEC:
If I could start just one new LD train, I would start a "Motown Philly", Chicago to New York via Michigan, Ohio (Toledo/Cleveland) and Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh/Harrisburg/Philadelphia). Pennsylvania would have a one seat ride to Chicago and Michigan would have a one seat ride to the East Coast. I would schedule it to run overnight between Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. It would be bad for most of PA but they are the least populated portion of the route (especially west of HAR) and it would provide overnight service between PGH and PHL/NYP and daytime service for Michigan/TOL/CLE.
If I could start two new trains, I would have separate trains for Philly and Michigan. The Michigan train can then go to New York via upstate New York or they can have separate trains for New York and Boston rather than the split train for the LSL. Either way, there would be two trains between CHI and ALB. As for the Philly train, I'd like to run it via Columbus. There is some talk about Chicago-Ft. Wayne-Columbus service now. Also, I'd consider rather continuing to New York continuing south to Baltimore/DC instead to give Baltimore (and Wilmington) a faster one seat ride to Chicago). The question is who do you give the faster one seat ride to, WIL/BAL or TRE/Newark?
If I could start three new trains, one for Michigan via upstate New York, one Chicago- Ft.Wayne- Columbus- Pittsburgh- Harrisburg- Philadelphia- New York, one Chicago- Indianapolis- Cincinnati- Columbus-Pittsburgh-Philadelphia- Baltimore- Washington. If you have both of these trains, the Cincinnati train can be scheduled with good times for Cincinnati/Columbus/Indianapolis and the other one can leave Columbus in the dark (since they will have the Cincinnati train) and be scheduled for E-W connections in Chicago and good times for PA.
If all three of these trains become reality and the LSL and CL are kept, there would be three daily CHI-NYP trains, two daily CHI-WAS trains, two daily CHI-PHL trains and one daily CHI-BAL train. CLE and TOL would gain a daily train to the East Coast and DET, Columbus, IND, and CIN would have a daily train to the East Coast.
But of course all we need is $$$$$$$.
Just how many trains do you need between Chicago and Philly, via Harrisburg and Pittsburgh? And I take it the Cardinal would be axed as part of this plan?
Keeping the Cardinal seems like a better use of funds than trying to string together a route that picks up Cincinnati while going all the way to Philadelphia just to cut back down to Baltimore. Cincinnati would be better served by the Cardinal for connectivity to the entire southern end of the NEC, and Cincinnati to Columbus could be better served by the 3-C's train that was nearly funded but got shot down by Ohio. Then, at Harrisburg cut down to Baltimore and DC instead of going all the way out to Philadelphia just to turn back towards Baltimore. Connecting passengers to Philadelphia can use the same Keystone connections that NYC passengers would have to use under the plan to turn southwest in Philly.
I went back and rechecked the mileage assuming the old Pennsylvania Railroad Cincinnati Limited: https://www.american-rails.com/cinn-ltd.html
The CIN-BAL-WAS routing I proposed would be longer to both BAL and WAS than the Cardinal. I didn't expect that. So that won't do CIN-BAL or CIN-WAS any favors. If we had a CIN-Columbus-PGH-PHL-NYP routing, it would be 755.1 miles or 72.9 miles shorter than the Cardinal between CIN and PHL/NYP. You probably wouldn't gain much in distance/time and you'd trade BAL/WAS for Columbus/PGH. On the other hand, those cities are a lot closer to CIN than BAL/WAS and Cincinnati passengers might have more interest riding trains to Columbus and Pittsburgh than to Baltimore and Washington. One thing I won't change my mind on, CIN and IND needs trains to/from CHI at better times than they have now.
As for CHI-BAL, HAR-BAL-WAS would be shorter than PHL-BAL-WAS and I wouldn't be against it if it can be done. Assuming it can't be, CHI-CLE-PGH-PHL-BAL would still be shorter in distance than the Cardinal. Also, the train can go faster on Amtrak owned Keystone tracks between HAR-PHL and PHL-BAL vs. only WAS-BAL on the Cardinal.
Now that I think about it, and with talk of the Cardinal, the other train I would add that would be Q and E, is a Florida section for the Cardinal. The train could split at Clifton Forge and the Florida section could head for Roanoke (using the new station), then figure out a route to Miami.
Keep in mind the old PRR "Panhandle" route from Columbus to Pittsburgh is long gone...a very roundabout replacement route now...
This is the All Aboard Ohio Columbus-Pittsburgh proposal from January 2016: http://freepdfhosting.com/cf26514bc8.pdf
They had Newark and Steubenville which were on the Cincinnati Limited and a few other stops. Old National Limited timetables don't show any stops between PGH and Columbus.
I think it makes a lot more sense to just have a through-car between the Cap and one of the Silvers, as it would be significantly faster than a section of the Cardinal, wouldn’t require creation of any routes or segments, and wouldn’t require acquisition of new ROW.
That could definitely be an easier add. But my idea should be able to arrive Roanoke about the same time the CL arrives in DC, so time to FL would depend on ROW (and yes, securing ROW is a difficult but doable task) south of Roanoke. My idea would also make Florida easy for Indianapolis, Cinncinati, The Greenbrier, etc., thus maybe creating some new markets. Then, what would you use for equipment on through cars since the CL uses Superliners and the Silvers use Amfleet? Is there enough Transition/sleeper cars to make this work? Then how would you handle the dorm part of those cars if they’re going to have to be fully public? Through cars just seem a bit tough logistically with the current fleet and utilization/assignments. Of course I’m also not sure if Amtrak could pull together enough Amfleet cars to fill the needs of my idea either.
Without considering equipment, if I were interested in Chicago-Florida service via Indianapolis/Cincinnati, I'd rather go via Louisville, Nashville, Atlanta.
Oh, I completely agree. In fact, I really think that route could be double daily very quickly after starting. Those are some large population centers with zero or minimal service today.
Good plan, but the tracks east from Columbus are terrible.
Some one pointed out to us that Amtrak needs to add LD trains into those congressional districts that have representatives that have shown opposition to Amtrak in the past. That might spread support further for the whole Amtrak system ? Might also help for support at the state level ?
If so then daily Sunset and Cardinal and Sunset type east from NOL. Then MSP to Kansas City and restore lone eagle. A biggie would be various services thru ATL especially mid west ?Pioneer and Desert wind service thru Wyoming.
I've been intrigued by the idea of some reauthorization act requiring the national network to serve all 48 states, or perhaps even to increase service to all 48 states. (Though I confess I'm not sure what the best way to include South Dakota is.)
I see many others here are onboard with the general theme of aiming for twice-daily service between as many city pairs as possible. Once upon a time I sketched out a list for the whole country to do that... about three computers ago now.
I’d love to see a sleeper go back on 66/67. Once the new cars arrive, I’d think that it could be done at a minimum of cost. Consist would otherwise remain the same.
There was some discussion of possibly using a bag-dorm on 66/67, since the full baggage cars are probably overkill on an NER and each train could probably fill seven or so Roomettes pretty easily.
That could make sense, although they've only ordered 10 so I could see them being limited to the Cardinal and LSL. Especially if they manage to ever take the Cardinal daily.
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