National Limited

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: National Limited

Postby electricron » Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:57 pm

Anthony wrote:Let's get this straight. According to the quoted posts and current schedules, the Missouri River Runner takes 5:40 to go 283 miles over a quite curvy route with eight intermediate stops. The STL-IND route is 238 miles long, is relatively straight, and would only have 3 intermediate stops between IND and STL (Greencastle, Terre Haute, and Effingham). All of this combined would mean that the trip time is much shorter IND-STL (around 3 1/2 hours, give or take) than the current STL-KCY. Given the political issues with extending the River Runner to IND, IND-STL-KCY service could instead be done with a Kansas City section of the Cardinal, preferably after the latter train goes daily. The current schedules of the Cardinal and River Runner would not change. The new section's run would take just over 9 hours. A rough schedule for the section would be:
    WESTBOUND:
    Dp. IND: 6:50 AM
    Ar. GCS: 7:31 AM
    Ar. TRH: 8:25 AM
    Ar. EFG: 9:28 AM
    Ar. STL: 11:00 AM
    Dp. STL: 12:00 PM
    Ar. KWD: 12:29 PM
    Ar. WAH: 1:06 PM
    Ar. HEM: 1:34 PM
    Ar. JEF: 2:22 PM
    Ar. SED: 3:39 PM
    Ar. WAR: 4:09 PM
    Ar. LEE: 4:50 PM
    Ar. IDP: 5:06 PM
    Ar. KCY: 5:40 PM

    EASTBOUND:
    Dp. KCY: 12:00 PM
    Ar. IDP: 12:19 PM
    Ar. LEE: 12:36 PM
    Ar. WAR: 1:19 PM
    Ar. SED: 1:49 PM
    Ar. JEF: 3:03 PM
    Ar. HEM: 3:48 PM
    Ar. WAH: 4:16 PM
    Ar. KWD: 4:58 PM
    Ar. STL: 5:40 PM
    Dp. STL: 6:45 PM
    Ar. EFG: 8:17 PM
    Ar. TRH: 9:20 PM
    Ar. GCS: 10:11 PM
    Ar. IND: 10:50 PM
    Dp. IND: 11:59 PM

This schedule would allow for convenient connections to the CONO and IL state-supported trains, TE and SWC, and would be timed to add that midday frequency to the River Runner.


Where Amtrak is going to find the additional train sets you haven't answered? You have to have the rolling stock to split the Cardnal into two sections, and even more to make the Cardinal a daily train.

One can take a train from K.C. to D.C., NYC, or Boston now with a transfer in Chicago. Is it possible to do so from K.C. to Indy with Amtrak's existing trains? It's the ability to make a transfer in Chicago that makes or breaks this trip.
The Hoosier State/Cardinal leaves Chicago at 5:45 pm. Which trains leaves K.C. in time to make that 5:45 pm departure in Chicago?
Train 4 SW Chief arrives in Chicago at 3:15 pm, departing K.C. at 7:43 am. YES!
Train 314 River Runner arrives in Chicago at 8:40 pm. NO.
Train 316 River Runner stops in St.Louis and doesn't reach Chicago. NO.

Which trains leaves St. Louis in time to make that 5:45 pm departure from Chicago?
Train 22 TX Eagle arrives in Chicago at 1:52 pm. YES!
Train 300 Lincoln service arrives in Chicago at 10:00 am. YES!
Train 302 Lincoln service arrives in Chicago at 12:20 pm. YES!
Train 304 Lincoln service arrives in Chicago at 8:40 pm. NO.
Train 306 Lincoln service arrives in Chicago at 11:10 pm. NO.

So, it is possible for both KC and SL riders to reach Indy in the same day already.
Why split the Cardinal into two sections in Indy?
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Re: National Limited

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Aug 15, 2016 5:30 pm

TBH the proposal up-page from me sounds like a job for Ed Ellis and his Iowa Pacifics. Indiana, downstate Illinois, and Missouri seem the places where a private operator with a government contract and a retro American Glory Days fleet would be welcomed.

As a corridor, that is. The Cardinal already has a tough enough time making its regular schedule, best not to drag another section into it except as a connecting train.
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Re: National Limited

Postby jpIllInoIs » Mon Aug 15, 2016 6:57 pm

I'm not sure why Illinois would bother with participating in funding this train. What benefit is there? One stop in Effingham!
Certainly very little by way of connectivity for Illinois residents. Amtrak already runs a bus directly from Carbondale to St. Louis on the same schedule as CONO.
And anyone further north can simply head over to Springfield or Lafayette to ride Lincoln or Cardinal. Not to mention Effingham has a direct connection and multiple trains per day to Chicago.
And Ill is committed to the QC-CHi line as well as all the other Amtrak related upgrades to CUS, Hiawatha, Lincoln service, and Saluki/Illini service.

All of the benefit is to Indy/StL/KC to connect and bypass Chicago. Now if Mo and IND want to support it - that's fine, don't stand in the way. But as outlined in this thread it has little value to far too small of a population in Illinois to deserve any consideration. Now it would be fun to see how neighboring states respond to CSX' request to pay for track upgrades, sidings and ptc and crossing improvements to the CSX line in ILL.
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Re: National Limited

Postby electricron » Mon Aug 15, 2016 10:55 pm

jpIllInoIs wrote:All of the benefit is to Indy/StL/KC to connect and bypass Chicago. But as outlined in this thread it has little value to far too small of a population in Illinois to deserve any consideration.


Bypassing Chicago isn't going to make a successful train. Half of Amtrak's ridership comes from the Northeast Corridor, and half of that comes from New York City. Every train east of Chicago and New Orleans goes to or through New York City. Likewise it makes sense for every train in the Midwest should go to or through Chicago, because one should expect a third to a half of the riders in the Midwest to come from there.

I wish someone would post the ridership data, but lacking that I'll post the population data, something I can find easily.
Just using the population of the States bordering Illinois, and the Chicago metro population:
Wisconsin 5,771,337 + Iowa 3,123,899 + Missouri 6,083,672 + Kentucky 4,425,092 + Illinois 12,859,905 + Indiana 6,619,680 + Michigan 9,922,576 = Subtotal 48,806,161
Chicago 9,551,031 / Subtotal 48,806,161 = Percentage of area 19.5% (about one in five)

How does New York City compare with the Northeast Corridor?
Virginia 8,382,993 + D.C. 672,228 + Maryland 6,006,401 + Delaware 945,334 + Pennsylvania 12,802,503 + New Jersey 8,958,013 + New York 19,795,791 + Connecticut 3,590,886 + Rhode Island 1,056,298 + Massachuetts 6,794,422 = Subtotal 69,004,869
New York City 20,182,305 / Subtotal 69,004,869 = Percentage 29.2% (about one in three point four)

My point is New York City is the big city driving ridership on the northeast coast, that Chicago is the big city driving ridership in the Midwest. That's where you want the trains to go, not to send trains around Chicago bypassing it.
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Re: National Limited

Postby John_Perkowski » Tue Aug 16, 2016 1:44 pm

I'm going to make two simple comments:

Here is a condensed timetable from up-thread:
Dp. KCY: 12:00 PM
Ar. STL: 5:40 PM

Dp. STL: 6:45 PM
Ar. IND: 10:50 PM

A through passenger, Kansas City to Indianapolis, takes 10 hours, 50 minutes. Well, I just route planned this on WAZE. I can make the trip in 6 hours, 55 minutes. OK, allow 2 hours for meals and fueling, and a 3d hour for traffic. Guess what? I'M STILL AN HOUR AHEAD driving my own car.

Now, I look at the Hound (Guess what, megabus no longer serves Kansas City). 9 hours 45 minutes.

Right now, what everyone proposes is what I would consider the service of last resort. Those who would advocate new routings need to look at the vector rate of advance across the timetable. If Amtrak cannot beat the Hound for getting there, why have Amtrak?

Amtrak once was marginally close to competitive in terms of getting there in a timely way. Now, on a single days trip, it isn't.
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Re: National Limited

Postby Anthony » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:19 pm

The reason I was proposing this route as a section of the Cardinal is so that it won't be reliant on state support, something unlikely to happen at this time in all three of the states affected by this. Further, I was proposing that it would happen AFTER the Cardinal goes daily, something in itself that won't happen until capacity on the Buckingham Branch is increased. As far as equipment goes, The Cardinal currently uses 2 train sets and would need one more to go daily (a total of three). The current consist of each train set is:
- 1 P42DC locomotive
- 1 Viewliner Baggage car
- 1-2 Viewliner sleepers
- 1 Amfleet Club-Dinette business class car
- 1 Amfleet Diner-Lite diner-lounge car
- 2-4 Amfleet long distance coaches

Total number of pieces of equipment per train: 7-10
x2 = 14-20 pieces for current tri-weekly service
x3 = 21-30 pieces needed for daily service

Before a Kansas City section can start, there would need to be additional equipment added to all three train sets, estimated as follows:
- 1 P42DC locomotive
- 1 Viewliner baggage car
- 1-2 Viewliner sleepers
- 1 Amfleet Club-Dinette business class car
- 1 Amfleet Diner-Lite diner-lounge car.
- 2-3 Amfleet (or Horizon) long distance coaches

Total number of additional pieces of equipment per train: 7-9
x3 = 21-27 additional pieces needed for Kansas City section.

Grand totals:
For each individual train set: 14-19 pieces
Across all three train sets: 42-57 pieces

Overall additional equipment needed: 28-37 pieces. Breaks down as follows:
- 4 P42DC locomotives
- 4 Viewliner Baggage car
- 4-8 Viewliner sleepers
- 4 Amfleet Club-Dinette business class car
- 4 Amfleet Diner-Lite diner-lounge car
- 8-13 Amfleet (or Horizon) long distance coaches

The additional equipment would come from two sources:
- The new Viewliner order
- Spare Genesis locomotives and single levels released from the Midwestern trains when the Siemens Chargers and NS bi-levels are delivered, respectively
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Re: National Limited

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Aug 16, 2016 7:59 pm

Believe Amtrak is not fond of splitting/combining trains,what little switching that is done at Indy is done to cycle
cars and locos to/from Beech Grove shop,and CSX keeps a close eye on this.
Only the Empire Builder and the Lake Shore currently split/combine sections,the Lake Shore at Albany,
the Empire Builder at Spokane.
At the present time,the ENTIRE fleet is spread real thin,so the cars/locos needed are NOT avaible to create the Indy-KCY section
you propose.
CSX would object to the train and would require Amtrak to foot the entire bill for track upgrades and PTC install,
possibly including a track reconfiguration at Indy to their(CSX) specs.
Most of the station along the route from Indy to St Louis are long gone/useless,or redeveloped,
you're basicly starting from scratch here.

The National LTD has been more of a political train then a needed service,something Amtrak would like to stay away from
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Re: National Limited

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Aug 16, 2016 8:08 pm

I like the idea, Anthony, and I agree that it's the only way such a train is likely to happen. Shame that these proposals bypass Springfield* as well as Chicago, which could stir interest in the Illinois State House.

*Even with the existing proto-HSR to Springfield, a connection to the east wouldn't be easy to add; there would be an obnoxious backing move in Springfield, and either another obnoxious move in Lafayette, IN (NS ex-Wabash), or a slow branchline (CSX) to Terre Haute.
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Re: National Limited

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:04 pm

Backshophoss wrote:
The National LTD has been more of a political train then a needed service,something Amtrak would like to stay away from


You want "political train", that's the Cardinal (or what I refer to as Byrd Crap).
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Re: National Limited

Postby electricron » Tue Aug 16, 2016 10:08 pm

Backshophoss wrote:Only the Empire Builder and the Lake Shore currently split/combine sections,the Lake Shore at Albany, the Empire Builder at Spokane.
At the present time, the ENTIRE fleet is spread real thin, so the cars/locos needed are NOT avaible to create the Indy-KCY section you propose.
The National LTD has been more of a political train then a needed service,something Amtrak would like to stay away from

I'll agree with all three of your points above, but would like to point out that Amtrak switches a coach and sleeper on and off the Sunset Limited with the Texas Eagle in San Antonio six days a week. It's not the same train like in your other two examples, but switching is still being done. ;)
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Re: National Limited

Postby Backshophoss » Tue Aug 16, 2016 11:08 pm

The Eagle/Sunset Ltd is a drop off or tack on of a coach+sleeper at San Antonio from both train's consists.
Switching,yes,but not a true combining/splitting of train sections like the Lake Shore,Empire Builder,or the
long discontinued Broadway Ltd at H-burg,or 30th street at Phila.

Reaching back to the early years of Amtrak,the NY Penn to LAUS transconn sleeper was a drop off/tack on at New Orleans,
to/from the Crescent to/from the Sunset Ltd
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Re: National Limited

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Wed Aug 17, 2016 7:31 am

I like the idea of through cars in general as it allows more possibilities of a one seat ride. Without them, Boston passengers would have to change trains and risk missing a connection in Albany (or if that portion wasn't there, New York). Same with Portland.

I believe in the past the Desert Wind and the Pioneer were through cars off the California Zephyr although I never rode either the Desert Wind or Pioneer.

In their PRIIA, Amtrak had considered two new through car pairs, connecting the Capitol Limited and Pennsylvanian at Pittsburgh and restarting the DW off the CZ at SLC. I'd be very in favor of both. On the other hand, they tried through cars off at PGH once and found it didn't save much money: https://csanders429.wordpress.com/train ... ee-rivers/

As for the old National Limited route, I'm not really sold on a through car branch between IND and STL/KCY. You would help passengers who want a one seat ride from STL/KCY and the NEC (and Cincinnati if you don't mind arriving/leaving in the graveyard shift). Also, you can transfer at STL to the Texas Eagle and at KCY to the Southwest Chief without the bottleneck of Chicago. But I'm not sure either KCY or STL is at the top of most passengers from the East's desired destinations. On the other hand, if they could go from KCY down the old Lone Star route to Houston via Dallas and/or Ft. Worth, that would create a one seat ride from the NEC to Texas. Or you could reroute the Texas Eagle via KCY and OKC and then have the NEC-Texas trip go through STL/Little Rock. That way Texas has one train to Chicago and one train to the NEC. Either way, you could have a direct train from CHI to HOS again.

I'd also like to see Columbus, Ohio get service again. Any ideas?
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Re: National Limited

Postby Woody » Wed Aug 17, 2016 8:58 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:
Backshophoss wrote:... a political train ... something Amtrak would like to stay away from
You want "political train", that's the Cardinal (or what I refer to as Byrd Crap).

You want to know how many of us refer to your obsession with an event from some 40 years ago? ... No, you don't want to hear it. I'd gladly tell you, but will refrain out of respect for the moderators.
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Re: National Limited

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Aug 18, 2016 3:09 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:I'd also like to see Columbus, Ohio get service again. Any ideas?

Convince Governor Kasich et al to fund the 3-C proposal.
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Re: National Limited

Postby Anthony » Fri Sep 15, 2017 9:18 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:I'd also like to see Columbus, Ohio get service again. Any ideas?

Convince Governor Kasich et al to fund the 3-C proposal.

Or, kick him out at the next gubernatorial election and elect a governor in favor the the 3C project.
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