Cardinal discussion

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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Alex M » Mon Aug 28, 2017 7:36 pm

One thought I had with improving the Cardinal would be the following:
1. Make it a daily train. This presupposes having enough equipment. This could help with increasing ridership, as well as I recall that CSX already has slots for it as a daily service.
2. Combine a Northeast Regional with it like what was done with the Palmetto as far as Washington.
3. Take a leaf from the old C&O playbook and institute a Newport News section that will diverge off the RF&P sub at Doswell onto the C&O line to Charlottesville to combine it with the NYP segment, again equipment permitting. Track upgrades would not be cheap, but it would give those in Tidewater Virginia a direct service to Chicago.
4. In the fall, add a dome car to the consist at Wash. to go on to Chicago. I believe this has been done. Do it all year if demand warrants.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby andrewjw » Mon Aug 28, 2017 8:14 pm

1. Pending funding, a fine idea. I don't think the ridership is there for a third Northeast to Chicago nightly.
2. Cardinal already runs to New York, what are you suggesting?
3. Western Virginia to Southeastern has been studied, the ridership across Virginia is really not there. I doubt adding a sleeper to Chicago would change this.
4. What dome car?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby jp1822 » Mon Aug 28, 2017 10:34 pm

Amtrak did propose in one of its performance reports (of the 21st Century) to buy two domes for the Cardinal service operating between Chicago and Washington DC. They were looking at the full domes that were once in use in Alaska.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Aug 28, 2017 11:29 pm

If you can find the cars and the money, Amtrak will happily provide.

I agree though - two of the most pressing service expansion opportunities are a daily Cardinal and a daily Broadway Limited/Capitol Limited splitting at Pittsburgh. Given enough single-level cars to equip the Broad/Cap, there'd be enough Superliners to equip the Card for a daily Chicago-Washington train (the practice in the 1990s.)

The Newport News section probably won't return, though Virginia does keep a Roanoke-Richmond-Hampton Roads train in its to-do list.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Alcochaser » Tue Aug 29, 2017 10:35 am

Well there is an idle Viewliner prototype that could be made into a neat lounge.

The Newport News operation lasted into Amtrak operation until 1976. It connected to the main train at Charlotesville.
It was famous for using the one and only Western Maryland Railway lightweight passenger car. (WM 1700) and an ex B&O steam gen 66XX Gp9.
Amtrak pretty much had Chessie system operate the Newport news section and leased the equipment from Chessie.
It's consist was usually a ex B&O steam gen GP9 and a Coach Lounge. (usually 1700 but sometimes an ex C&O car was subbed)
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby gokeefe » Wed Sep 13, 2017 7:27 pm

For whatever reason we missed this when it happenned.

Legislation to promote daily service for the Amtrak Cardinal passenger train passed the Senate Tuesday on a 32-1 vote (HB 2856).

The bill, which was passed without discussion Tuesday, will be headed to the governor once the House of Delegates concurs in a title amendment to the bill. It passed the House on March 22 on a 95-5 vote, with proponents arguing that expanding the current three-day-a-week schedule will benefit tourism and economic development in the eight West Virginia cities and towns on the Cardinal route.

Though not a governor’s bill, the bill has the support of the Justice administration. Earlier in the session, Commerce Secretary Woody Thrasher said of the legislation, “I couldn’t be more solidly behind it. It’s integral to tourism to have that train operating daily.”

Under the bill, the state Tourism commissioner is authorized to enter into compact agreements with other states served by the Cardinal, and with the National Railroad Passenger Corp., the company that operates Amtrak, to improve the quality and frequency of Cardinal service.

It also authorizes the commissioner to set up a special revenue account where funds could be deposited to promote daily Cardinal service, although the bill provides no state funding for the account.


This to me looks like the first step necessary for West Virginia to negotiate with other states for a cost-sharing agreement that would allow them to fund daily service, or perhaps as an intermediate step some kind of corridor.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 12:46 pm

Can they pay all of the operating costs of the train to free up Amtrak/Congress to use the money for other purposes? If the rest of us aren't paying for the train with our tax dollars I'll start calling it by its real name and not the name I refer to it as.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:29 pm

When will Pennsylvania pay its direct share of Cardinal operating costs? :P (or pay for a connecting section off the Capitol Limited?)

You are the only poster here that I've seen advocate for a service to end, rather than for the equitable increase of service.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby OrangeGrove » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:49 pm

Tell you what, when Pennsylvania agrees to cover the full cost of trains running through the state, then you may be excused from paying for trains which do not serve your state. Of course, the Cardinal does serve Pennsylvania. Please explain again why your tax dollars should not go to support a service which directly benefits Pennsylvania, but those of us in other states - some of which lack any Amtrak service at all - should be expected to fund trains in Pennsylvania.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Fri Sep 15, 2017 1:55 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
You are the only poster here that I've seen advocate for a service to end, rather than for the equitable increase of service.


My premise has always been from an economic perspective. If you want something and you don't have the money for it and you don't have the equipment for it, how do you get it? Ask for more money and equipment? We've been asking for more money and equipment for 46 years. How's that worked out for us? Maybe it is time for Plan B. I think some people on Railroad.net think money grows on trees and we can always get more. If we have a limited amount of money, let's make the best use of it and not waste it.

And my comment this time wasn't end the service but make the states that benefit the most pay for it. How is that different from the 750 mile rule? If Pennsylvania didn't pay for the Pennsylvania it wouldn't exist. If West Virginia isn't willing to pay the full (or a significant portion of the) operating costs for the Cardinal maybe it shouldn't exist. Why should people from California or Texas who will never ride it pay for it? It's hardly a more national train than the Pennsylvanian. We do have the LSL and CL for Chicago-NEC travel.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby east point » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:05 pm

The July monthly performance report had an interesting item about ridership. Capitol ridership 24,004 and Cardinal 12,459. So if we make the Cardinal daily its ridership has the potential of 7/3 rds of 12,459 = 29,071 . That does not even include the Hoosier riders that would help bump the riders to this number. Then many Capitol passengers could travel on a daily Cardinal. OOPS that means that the Capitol train is junk and would be best terminated and passengers either take LSL or go from PHL to Chicago by the Cardinal. Don't like that ? Well that is what your proposal to terminate the Cardinal sounds like.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Sep 15, 2017 3:12 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:If West Virginia isn't willing to pay the full (or a significant portion of the) operating costs for the Cardinal maybe it shouldn't exist. Why should people from California or Texas who will never ride it pay for it? It's hardly a more national train than the Pennsylvanian. We do have the LSL and CL for Chicago-NEC travel.

I recall on this board that the Cardinal is a legacy from late Senator Byrd. If WV steps up and funds its share, will Ohio? Probably not. Virginia might, given its commitment to passenger rail.
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