Cardinal discussion

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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Tue Jan 24, 2017 6:17 pm

How did we determine the Cardinal needed domes?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Greg Moore » Tue Jan 24, 2017 8:35 pm

Beats me.. but I think all medium/LD trains could use them :-)

Seriously, while nice, unless Amtrak can get the rest of the Superdomes, I think they should focus on revenue cars.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:27 pm

Arlington wrote:How did we determine the Cardinal needed domes?

On a train that has scenic views it is nice to be able to see them.
It also gives passengers a place to go to break up the monotony of the trip.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Jan 24, 2017 9:51 pm

Believe IP has rounded up most of the remaining "Big"/"Super" full lenght Domes,
there might be a few short Domes that could be "remanufactured" by Beech Grove in that Granite City "grave" yard. :wink:
OR create a "sightseer" type car using the Viewliner II bodyshell. :-)
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Alcochaser » Wed Jan 25, 2017 9:04 am

CSX issued a bulletin this morning. The speed on the connection track at Crawfordsville IN is now 25 for passenger and freight.

This used to be an unsignaled 10mph connection.

Should shave 2 or 3 minutes off the running time.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby jp1822 » Wed Jan 25, 2017 1:56 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:I highly doubt Amtrak will go to cutting a currently daily train to 3 days a week. Amtrak tried that more back in the 90's when they alternated the Empire Builder/Pioneer and the California Zephyr/Desert Wind and then flat out canceled the Pioneer and Desert Wind and made the others daily. I'd personally rather have a train 3x/week than no train at all but all the statistics show that 3x/week hurts the financial performance of a train.

Another option would be if they run out of sleepers is to run an overnight train without sleepers. Currently the Night Owl runs without sleepers and surely any market would rather keep their train w/o sleepers than lose it. As much as people don't like not having dining cars it has to be better than Amtrak flat out canceling the train. The Three Rivers started out with coach only before they were able to add sleepers and they never got a dining car. I'd take an overnight sleeper less, dining car less Three Rivers than not having one (I have never used a sleeper and I eat most of my meals from the cafe car).

Hopefully if it comes down to flat out canceling a route they finally do the right thing and not cancel a good route to save Byrd Crap again. At least now Byrd's dead. Hopefully the decision as to what route(s) get canceled is based on performance and not who has the most power in the Senate. If Amtrak kills off a worthless train or two it might improve their financial performance.

I think it would make a lot of sense to remove the sleeper from the Cardinal if push comes to shove as it probably has the lowest percentage of long distance passengers and the lowest percentage of passengers that need/use sleepers. No one's going to need a sleeper going from Chicago to Indy and probably not for passengers traveling between Charlottesville and Washington/New York either (and they still have the Crescent for that purpose). I'm sure they don't want to lose their sleepers but it's got to be better than losing the train (assuming you care about Byrd Crap to begin with).


The Cardinal gets top dollar for its sleepers and if you take the sleepers off you will notice a deep downward decline In revenue. That's where the Cardinal's top dollar revenue is. Moreover, a sleeper on the Cardinal often turns over as much as three times while enroute. Compared to Lake Shore and Capitol Limited, the Cardinal turns over many more sleeper compartments with just its one Viewliner sleeper. More often than not, the Cardinal would benefit greatly with TWO sleepers, as has been happening recently more often - but seasonal.

The Cardinal could operate with a Sightseer Lounge if Amtrak wanted it too. They also have had more restored in recent years. I totally support a Superlimer Cardinal between Washington, DC and Chicago. Washington DC is a major turnover point.

This train ran with a Superliner train set that included:

2 sleepers (no crew car)
Diner
Sightseer Lounge
2 to 3 coaches

Amtrak has severely shrunk the traffic on this line by converting it to subpar single level long distance cars in my opinion. No lounge. No full service diner.

Originally when the Cardinal converted back to a single level train set it took equipment of the Silver Palm, as the Silver Palm became a day train known as the Palmetto.

Amtrak ran the Cardinal daily with three train sets between DC and Chicago. They could run cars and try to sell them out full time or hold back some Superliners to run them seasonally. I'd rather see ridership built back up with the Cardinal operating with Superliners daily. There will still be other Superliners to fill in seasonally.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:14 pm

Saying that the sleepers turn over 2 or 3 times en-route argues that diner service would be less needed because few premium customers are onboard+awake long enough to desperately need a "big" meal.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:56 pm

Backshophoss wrote:OR create a "sightseer" type car using the Viewliner II bodyshell. :-)

Been saying that for years :-D

jp1822: thanks for getting a firm number of cars for a resurrected Superliner Cardinal operating daily. It's really not that much equipment, especially with just 3 sets.

All: since the Buckingham Branch has been a limiting factor, what about continuing to run 3x/week via BB and 4x/week via the Lynchburg connection between NS and CSX? You still serve all stops at least 3x/week, but would serve most of them daily (and Lynchburg gets another freebie train.)
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Rockingham Racer » Wed Jan 25, 2017 5:29 pm

There's no need to create such a car. The Panorama cars are running in Western Canada and on the Alaska Railroad. I have no idea what one costs.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Jan 25, 2017 6:49 pm

Right now, $infinity - Colorado/Rader Railcar built the cars, but they're extinct. US Railcar holds the rights afaik, but they have no manufacturing capability at the moment. Used cars could be had, I suppose, but they almost certainly would not be 125 mph-capable and were built on Heritage platforms. Since the whole point of a Sightseer no-dome lounge is that they would fit anywhere on the NEC, it's worthless to get cars that will just slow down the whole operation and prove a maintenance hassle.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby electricron » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:45 pm

Colorado Railcar did not make the glass,hey bought the glass from another vendor. Framing for the glass can be designed and built by any railcar builder. So, these walls of glass and glass canopies can be applied onto any railcar designed by anybody. Stadler Rail makes coached used in Switzerland with glass canopies, is just one example.

The Amfleet rail cars construction technique most probably will not support adding these glass canopies any more than they allow installing much larger windows. But I believe Amtrak could install walls of glass onto Horizon rail cars, or Viewliners if they so wished. But there really aren't that many single level trains in which Amtrak could use them on. Here's my list or table of the viability of Amtrak's single level trains.
NEC corridor services : No
Empire Services and Adirondack : Yes
Keystone Services and Pennsylvanian : Yes
Ethan Allen and Vermonter : Yes
Midwest Services : No
Piedmont Services and Carolinian : No
Silver Services and Palmetto : No
Cardinal : Yes
Crescent : No
Lake Shore Limited : Maybe?
Of the entire list, only one Amtrak subsidized train had a yes, the thrice a week Cardinal. All the others with a yes are state subsidized trains in which I predict few states would wish to fund a sightseer, wall of glass, lounge car on a daily basis.
Only a few trains on the east coast penetrate mountain ranges where a glass canopy car provides views of rock faces close to the train. I'm not even sure there are rock faces close to the Cardinal where glass canopy cars would help.

Amtrak would spend its money more wisely installing larger windows on its new single car coach fleet, where glass canopy cars aren't really needed.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby cobra30689 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 1:30 pm

mtuandrew wrote:All: since the Buckingham Branch has been a limiting factor, what about continuing to run 3x/week via BB and 4x/week via the Lynchburg connection between NS and CSX? You still serve all stops at least 3x/week, but would serve most of them daily (and Lynchburg gets another freebie train.)


Somehow I don't see CSX allowing passenger trains on the James River sub from Lynchburg to JD Cabin (where the BB and James River sub come together and the Alleghany sub starts). There aren't even legacy passenger speeds in the timetable. Plus you bypass Staunton and Clifton Forge doing this, and at the very least I believe Clifton Forge hosts quite a bit of traffic.....
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Jan 26, 2017 4:17 pm

cobra30689 wrote:Somehow I don't see CSX allowing passenger trains on the James River sub from Lynchburg to JD Cabin (where the BB and James River sub come together and the Alleghany sub starts). There aren't even legacy passenger speeds in the timetable. Plus you bypass Staunton and Clifton Forge doing this, and at the very least I believe Clifton Forge hosts quite a bit of traffic.....

You only miss Staunton, Clifton Forge Station is west of JD Cabin if I am reading the map right. And with reduced coal traffic for the moment, why not? It's not a permanent solution, since it requires wyeing near Liberty University and backtracking, but it unties the Cardinal from BB upgrades until CSX, Amtrak, BB, and the Commonwealth can come to an agreement.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Thu Jan 26, 2017 11:45 pm

mtuandrew wrote:It's not a permanent solution, since it requires wyeing near Liberty University and backtracking, but it unties the Cardinal from BB upgrades until CSX, Amtrak, BB, and the Commonwealth can come to an agreement.


The connection appears to be complete between the two lines ... a tight curve in both wyes but no reverse movements. I would not want to see the Cardinal follow that route permanently but it would work for a construction detour. But would it avoid enough of the Buckingham Branch to make a difference?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jan 27, 2017 10:00 am

justalurker: it avoids the entire Buckingham Branch, if that matters. Still just a temporary solution - there isn't really a place between LYH and Clifton Forge that's large enough to warrant service, so Staunton passengers would just need a Thruway connection those four days a week. I'm not sure what the mileage and speed difference is though, especially if there aren't passenger speeds mapped on the James River Sub to speed up the train.
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