City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Jeff Smith » Wed Jul 19, 2017 1:22 pm

http://www.sunherald.com/news/politics- ... 35023.html

Gulf Coast Working Proposal to Congress

A group of Gulf Coast leaders has recommended that Amtrak restore a passenger train route that goes through the Coast.

The Gulf Coast Working Group in a report issued Monday night recommended Congress consider two routes — a New Orleans to Orlando daily round trip route and a New Orleans to Mobile daily round trip. Louisiana, Mobile and Mississippi would have to come up with the money for the Mobile route.

“This report makes clear the need to restore passenger rail service along the Gulf Coast and provides a path to get us there,” said U.S. Sen. Bill Nelson, D-Florida, who helped create the working group Congress approved as part of the FAST Act in 2015. “While there’s lots of work ahead, this service will not only help us meet the future transportation needs of the region but could also be a boon for tourism and the local economy.”

The Working Group used information for the Federal Railroad Administration, Amtrak, the Southern Rail Commission, CSX (the owner of the tracks the trains would run on) and communities along the route.
...
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby gokeefe » Wed Jul 19, 2017 8:50 pm

So ... This is what the new process looks like for adding a new federal train ... No one appears to be fazed by the price tag (nor should they be). I will be curious to see what the expected financial performance looks like.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby BandA » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:29 pm

I think the freights should be rated by how they treat Amtrak, and it should affect their access to freight grant money.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Tadman » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:20 am

I haven't weighed in on this idea, but I intensely dislike it.

CNO is a perfect distance train and actually useful for biz travel. It only runs on one host line, so there are no handoff-delays. Now we want to extend it along a less-than-dense and geographically obtuse extension down Hunter's CSX? I'd rather stick my fingers in a 110 outlet for fun. If they want a train along the gulf coast, why not a 2x/day coach train that isn't handed off between CN and CSX. You have to have some sort of frequency and predictability or this will be the little-old-lady express with anybody else travelling by car.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Jeff Smith » Mon Aug 21, 2017 10:50 am

I'm with Tad on this. My impression has generally been that this should be a separate train for timekeeping purposes. I'm not sure how well the CoNO performs in time metrics. but it seems to me, as Tad notes, that this is a nice distance for an LD, very similar to a corridor service. Separate trains, separate managers, and if HH doesn't like it, screw him. Except for the fact that the Sunset is probably Amtrak's worst LD train, this train should have been reinstated after the route was rebuilt.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby electricron » Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:44 am

Amtrak most successful regional trains are ran from hubs and most long distance trains run between hubs. Hubs like New York City, Chicago, Oakland, and Los Angeles. The reason southern trains like the Sunset Limited perform so poorly is that there's no strong hub city. New Orleans, while a good destination city for tourists, isn't really strong enough economically to home base many regional trains. I wish it was.
If Amtrak wants to expand services in the south, it needs to look at finding a better hub. A great hub city would be one where the economy is growing, with nearby city pairs in every compass direction to run regional trains, and has passenger train facilities suitable for the task. That's why Chicago makes a great hub city. But I can't figure which city would be the best in the south. Houston and Atlanta have a strong enough economic base, but both have torn down their old passenger train facilities large enough to base a regional rail network. That's why Amtrak continues to rely on New Orleans, it's rail passenger facilities are still standing.
So, to build a regional passenger rail network based in New Orleans, there should be regional trains to the west (Houston), east (Mobile), and north (Jackson), additionally northwest (Shreveport) and northeast (Birmingham). I just don't think this will ever happen in full, but maybe starting with one train followed by second, then a third, can be built up sequentially. Maybe these trains will help the New Orleans economy to grow to support basing these trains there?
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Aug 21, 2017 12:51 pm

This could be a FTW-NOL-ORL (-MIA) long distance train with the assistance of either UP or KCS. The facilities still exist in Fort Worth too. I haven't examined the timing and don't know how practical such would be.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Aug 21, 2017 8:25 pm

electricron wrote:A great hub city would be one where the economy is growing, with nearby city pairs in every compass direction to run regional trains, and has passenger train facilities suitable for the task. That's why Chicago makes a great hub city. But I can't figure which city would be the best in the south. Houston and Atlanta have a strong enough economic base, but both have torn down their old passenger train facilities large enough to base a regional rail network.


Option C ... Both.

Build facilities and services incrementally. Start with Atlanta and a new station there. Rome wasn't built in a day and neither was the U.S. passenger rail system. (It didn't fall apart overnight either)
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:14 pm

As it stands,NOL IS an Amtrak HUB city with 3 LD trains,and has yard and shop facilities,extending the CoNO is a risk for now.
With EHH in charge of CSX,getting a regional train to Mobile Al might be doable,if set up as connecting service to CoNO and the Crescent
to DC/NYC.
IF and WHEN EHH retires(or gets canned)try to extend to Jacksonville Fl/Miami Fl.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Tadman » Sun Aug 27, 2017 10:25 am

electricron wrote:Amtrak most successful regional trains are ran from hubs and most long distance trains run between hubs. Hubs like New York City, Chicago, Oakland, and Los Angeles. The reason southern trains like the Sunset Limited perform so poorly is that there's no strong hub city. New Orleans, while a good destination city for tourists, isn't really strong enough economically to home base many regional trains. I wish it was.


I always figured it was because the train runs 3x/week, over a very long route, hosted by UP, single track, and passses through Texas, which is very car-friendly. I love Texas, but they think something is wrong with me when I tell them I take the train back to Chicago.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Aug 27, 2017 3:59 pm

Jeff Smith wrote:I'm with Tad on this. My impression has generally been that this should be a separate train for timekeeping purposes. I'm not sure how well the CoNO performs in time metrics. but it seems to me, as Tad notes, that this is a nice distance for an LD, very similar to a corridor service. Separate trains, separate managers, and if HH doesn't like it, screw him. Except for the fact that the Sunset is probably Amtrak's worst LD train, this train should have been reinstated after the route was rebuilt.


I have to agree. A transfer at NOL to a different train to go NOL-ORL-MIA via Tallahassee would be best, both for timing and also general management. A Gulf Coast Limited, perhaps?
I ride the (MTA Maryland) Penn Line (between Odenton and Baltimore). I used to work for MTA Maryland's IT department, and out of professional courtesy my responses may be limited. Wikimapia is wonderful (for track/interlocking locations)!
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby prokowave » Thu Sep 21, 2017 7:22 pm

I agree that continuing the CONO is not the best strategy. However it is hardly a true continuation since there are several hours layover in New Orleans built into the schedule, presumably to address the issues of on-time performance. Because of this there will probably be crew and even equipment changes and I doubt many passengers will be continuing on both legs.

Regarding "hub" status, I hope they make the New Orleans-Mobile service a priority before fully extending the CONO. That coupled with the Baton Rouge commuter rail service would go a long way toward feeding the current routes, especially if MOB-NOL is timed to connect with the Sunset Limited and BTR-NOL is timed to connect with the Crescent service.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby east point » Fri Sep 22, 2017 9:49 pm

Have no crystal ball but a thru CNO to Florida seems to have high potential. Let us look at the 1950s . There were many trains from the Midwest to Florida. All those past train passengers should denote a potential to fill up a no connections train CHI - Florida. Granted some of those trains were from Indiana, Ohio , Michigan. But the CNO will cover Wisconsin, downstate Illinois, and Kansas / Missouri with the thruway STL - Carbondale. No more worrying about the Silvers - Capitol connections at WASH. Trip would be several hours less as well. This poster's opinion is that lack of capacity both CHI - NOL and NOL - Florida might be a problem if only 4 - 6 cars are scheduled thru ?.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Sep 22, 2017 10:08 pm

For now EHH as the head of CSX IS the problem,a separate train NOL-JAX-MIA would be better,set up as a connection to/from
the CoNo,with a possible thru sleeper and coach as the Eagle/Sunset Ltd connection is at San Antonio.
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Re: City of New Orleans CoNO Extension/Sunset Limited (East)

Postby H Street Landlord » Sun Sep 24, 2017 12:14 pm

117 million seems quite reasonable. To make the most of the investment why not extend the LD trains and do corridor service. If need be run shorter trains or DMUs for the corridor service.
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