Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

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Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Tadman » Thu Aug 17, 2017 2:48 pm

I travel to Fort Worth frequently. Today, sitting the station waiting to get on 22 to Chicago, I was curious: why does the Flyer terminate in Fort Worth? Dallas is about 4 times bigger, wouldn't that have a material effect on sales?
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby jp1822 » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:30 pm

Dallas and Fort Worth are connected via regional rail aren't they? When did the regional rail startup? If already in operation when Heartland Flyer was setup, perhaps the State felt they didn't want the redundancy? Or can Fort Worth be a crew base for both the Flyer and Eagle?
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Bob Roberts » Thu Aug 17, 2017 5:43 pm

I don't believe there is a decent place to store / service / turn the set around Dallas Union Station. I would guess Texas was too cheap to pay for one so Ft Worth became the next best option.

Perhaps this situation could change if the Houston HSR service gets off the ground?
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Aug 17, 2017 8:19 pm

Believe Dallas Union is hemmed in by I-35E and the river and is a major jct point for UP.
You can connect to Dallas light rail at Dallas Union as well as TRE to Ft Worth.
Ft Worth is an Amtrak Crew base and has a small yard that Amtrak uses.
Trains 21 and 22 cycle equipment to /from the Flyer to Chicago/Beech Grove.
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:17 pm

Is there demand to run OKC-FTW-DAL, back to FTW for storage, and back to DAL the next morning for DAL-FTW-OKC? (Perhaps as a TRE train for the morning and evening deadheads?) Also, is there an extra 2-3 hours in the schedule to allow for such?
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Backshophoss » Thu Aug 17, 2017 11:31 pm

Believe the only time the Flyer runs to Dallas is during the "Red River Rivalry" game during Collage football season,via the TRE route.
Otherwise ,you can connect to TRE service to Dallas at Ft Worth.
This works due to the Flyer is setup as a push- pull set with a NPCU at one end.
However,Amtrak hates unneeded deadhead moves.
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Aug 18, 2017 12:24 am

Oh never mind, I see the arrival time is 12:30ish PM in Fort Worth and departure around 5:30ish to OKC. Plenty of time to catch TRE to and from Dallas.
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby John_Perkowski » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:08 am

Tad, because it's the Santa Fe, all the way...

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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:00 pm

Bob Roberts wrote:I don't believe there is a decent place to store / service / turn the set around Dallas Union Station. I would guess Texas was too cheap to pay for one so Ft Worth became the next best option.

Perhaps this situation could change if the Houston HSR service gets off the ground?


Then we can talk OKC-FTW-DAL-HOS!
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Rockingham Racer » Fri Aug 18, 2017 4:53 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:
Bob Roberts wrote:I don't believe there is a decent place to store / service / turn the set around Dallas Union Station. I would guess Texas was too cheap to pay for one so Ft Worth became the next best option.

Perhaps this situation could change if the Houston HSR service gets off the ground?


Then we can talk OKC-FTW-DAL-HOS!


We can, but let's remember that this is Texas we're talking about. You know: the state that has 3 of the largest cities in the top 10, but poor intercity rail.
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Fri Aug 18, 2017 5:54 pm

Rockingham Racer wrote:
Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:
Bob Roberts wrote:I don't believe there is a decent place to store / service / turn the set around Dallas Union Station. I would guess Texas was too cheap to pay for one so Ft Worth became the next best option.

Perhaps this situation could change if the Houston HSR service gets off the ground?


Then we can talk OKC-FTW-DAL-HOS!


We can, but let's remember that this is Texas we're talking about. You know: the state that has 3 of the largest cities in the top 10, but poor intercity rail.


Texas should tell Oklahoma to pay for it or they will stop contributing to the HF. What does Texas gain from the HF anyway? I'm sure Metroplex residents really want to head to Oklahoma.
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Aug 18, 2017 6:38 pm

Tell Texas state officials that it isn't a passenger service proposal, it's a live-action five-times-daily reenactment and ride-along cyclorama of the Great Locomotive Chase making several stops between Oklahoma City and Houston :P
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Aug 18, 2017 10:30 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Tell Texas state officials that it isn't a passenger service proposal, it's a live-action five-times-daily reenactment and ride-along cyclorama of the Great Locomotive Chase making several stops between Oklahoma City and Houston :P

And they might ask why you've moved a Georgia event to their state :-)
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Aug 18, 2017 11:10 pm

Greg Moore wrote:And they might ask why you've moved a Georgia event to their state :-)

But would they care? :-D
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Re: Heartland Flyer - Why Fort Worth?

Postby electricron » Sat Aug 19, 2017 2:23 am

Amtrak's contract for operations over the TRE line between Dallas and Fort Worth only allows like 4 additional round trips per year. UT-OU weekend trains uses those slots. Before the Texas Eagle switched from the UP to TRE, it reversed in and out of downtown Fort Worth, running through the very busy Tower 55 rail diamond crossing 6 times. It runs through it twice a day today now. But each Flyer round trip extended to Dallas would have ran through Tower 55 an additional 6 times as well. That was unacceptable for a daily train as far as both the UP and BNSF.

Today, congestion at Tower 55 caused by passenger trains isn't as much of an issue as it was in the past. But other issues have arisen, such as who's paying for the liability insurance Amtrak requires, how many train slots are available for Amtrak on the mostly single track TRE corrridor mainly in Fort Worth, which is more concerned with construction of TexRail commuter line on an entirely different rail corrridor.

As a bystander, take off your rose colored or smoked gray sunglasses, and consider what is more important for DFW,
(a) 2,200,000 yearly communting passengers over a rail corridor, or
(b) 60,000 yearly tourists Flyer passengers over that same rail line
at Fort Worth?

The TRE runs 50 trains a day, Amtrak runs just 4 trains a day at Fort Worth.
Sources of data above:
https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/files/3478/29.pdf
http://www.trinityrailwayexpress.org/aboutTRE.html
I wish I could include ridership data for the Eagle at Fort Worth, but this data was not listed on
https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/files/3444/32.pdf

Additional, I would like to add, commuter ridership is skewed as much if not even greater along the NEC over intercity regional and other long distance trains nationally. It does make it difficult to suggest to taxpayers and office holders in power that spending more for intercity rail is more justified than spending more money for local trains.

Maybe we should be spending less on the spokes and spending more on the hubs of our national passenger rail system?
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