Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

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

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mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:24 pm

Maybe these maps will help answer your question, Mr. O’Keefe: https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers ... ance-maps/

David Benton
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by David Benton » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:25 pm

Why does it need to be double stack autos? 125 mph capable single level would open up anywhere on the NEC.
A train limited to 30 cars would be presumably 1/2 the capacity of the Auto Train, but as a start up , so what ?
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gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by gokeefe » Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:49 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 7:24 pm
Maybe these maps will help answer your question, Mr. O’Keefe: https://www.csx.com/index.cfm/customers ... ance-maps/
Very helpful ... So the furthest CSX can go is Twin Oaks just outside Philadelphia. I haven't been able to find mileposts for the Crescent Corridor for Newark - Jacksonville.
gokeefe

SouthernRailway
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by SouthernRailway » Sat Jul 20, 2019 8:51 pm

Arlington wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 5:22 pm
I liked Front Royal for it's friendly landlord (I think it is a State of VA entity) but other than that I don't really like the NS routings. Still penciling out the math on Newark to Atlanta is probably worth it.
There is no need for an Auto-Train to the Carolinas or Georgia, except along the coasts maybe.

The rest of the Carolinas and Georgia are not tourist destinations that could support the service. Period.

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:01 pm

Places I like for Auto Train:
-Lorton to Sanford
-Lorton to Blue Island, IL
-Blue Island to let’s say Victorville, CA
-Blue Island to Fort Worth, TX

That’s all from my perspective.

AgentSkelly
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by AgentSkelly » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:11 pm

You would have to find another super busy interstate route like I-95 that people would be willing to pay “to not drive their car”
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?

gokeefe
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by gokeefe » Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:13 pm

Yet another reason Newark is so intriguing. Great excuse to skip most of New Jersey for those traveling from New York City and beyond.
gokeefe

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by mtuandrew » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:09 pm

AgentSkelly wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:11 pm
You would have to find another super busy interstate route like I-95 that people would be willing to pay “to not drive their car”
-The Indiana, Ohio, and Pennsylvania Turnpikes (I-76, I-80, and/or I-90)
-I-5 within California
-LAX-Vegas
-DFW-Houston

I hadn’t considered an in-state Auto Train and I don’t think it would be feasible, but someone more clever than myself could build and successfully market such in California. Probably not in Texas, the distances are too short to be time-competitive with even a slow driver.

If you consider “too long to drive” rather than just too busy, that opens up the entire East Coast - Chicago - West Coast set of markets. I’m still wary of Chicago - Florida but think that an origin in Chicagoland (not in Louisville) would vastly increase interest.

AgentSkelly
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by AgentSkelly » Sat Jul 20, 2019 10:23 pm

Amtrak in the past identified a east-west route as Chicago-Phoenix as that had a similar pattern of “being annoying to drive by snowbirds”
New Westminster to Amtrak 516, whats up with the extra 4 axles, over?

electricron
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by electricron » Sun Jul 21, 2019 12:50 am

For a different Auto Train to be viable you have to limit the train to around 850 rail miles and 17 hours elapse time from original to destination stations. Going further or taking more time involves using more than two train sets for daily operations. The 850 rail miles assumes an average speed of 50 mph over 17 hours. As soon as you add more train sets to the service, you add costs making it unprofitable. For anyone suggesting longer distances than around 850 rail miles, they should have to state how they are going to achieve faster average speeds.
Most railroad corridors in the USA are Class 4 or less, very few are Class 5 or more.
All freight services on Class 4 are limited to maximum speeds of 60 mph. Freight service maximum speeds on Class 5 are limited to 80 mph.
With maximum freight service speeds limited to 60 mph on most rail corridors in the USA, 50 mph average speeds is about the best you can accomplish. With maximum freight speeds limited to 80 mph on Class 5 rail corridors, 60 mph to 70 mph average speeds is about the best you can accomplish.
I did the math earlier, 1020 rail miles is what a train can do 17 hours at 60 mph average speeds.

Chicago to Phoenix highway distance is 1753 miles via Oklahoma City. Chicago to Sanford highway distance is 1151 miles. Chicago to Fort Worth (Texas Eagle) is 1022 rail miles. Chicago to New York City (Lake Shore Limited) is 959 rail miles. Just about every proposal made recently for a new Auto Train service is too far, there is no way an Auto Train service can travel that far in 17 hours.

Here's what you should do before proposing another route; look at existing Amtrak long distance routes and check the milage first. Do not worry about the existing times too much because an Auto Train type service is an end to end service without making station stops along the way. As it is, the Auto Train stops once to refuel between Sanford and Lorton. Keep your proposed routes to 850 miles or less, possibly 900 miles if there are some Class 5 tracks on the route. You are not going to find 1020 continuous rail miles of Class 5 tracks anywhere in the USA. Otherwise, scrap the other proposals as unachievable.

Backshophoss
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by Backshophoss » Sun Jul 21, 2019 1:13 am

Your major"Snowbird" flocks hesd to FL,then parts of Texas,Between Nogales and Tuscon Az,Quartzsite Az,Yuma Az,and Winterhaven Ca.
With steady yearround UPS,Fed=Ex Ground,Intermodal freight and Autorack traffic on the BNSF Transconn, there's almost no room for a Auto Train.
Peak season traffic from late Aug to mid Nov it is very congested on the Tranconn
The Phoenix sub is full curves and grades that slow down the overall speed across that sub.
It's not uncommon to have couplers break on the Az Divide grade west of Flagstaff.
The Land of Enchantment is not Flyover country!

bostontrainguy
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by bostontrainguy » Sun Jul 21, 2019 8:33 am

So how about the idea of adding an autocarrier to the Chief and unloading it in Albuquerque where there is a good layover? Loading/unloading in Chicago would occur somewhere around the area and the car added/removed where practical.

Also, they could add a low-profile autocarrier to a Florida train and serve the New York City area. Again the details need to be worked out but a test project would be rather interesting.

west point
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by west point » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:03 am

Any addition of auto racks to a present train has several problems
1. The 20 - 30 minute delay to attach car(s) by a back up move and brake test.
2. 15 minute delay unless train can pull thru and to car(s)
3. Auto rack speed limits of 70 MPH unless special equipped cars allowing higher speeds.
5. Additional car knockers for servicing and brake tests.

mtuandrew
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by mtuandrew » Sun Jul 21, 2019 10:45 am

I like adding/dropping auto carriers from the Southwest Chief at KNG (Kingman, which gathers in both the Phoenix and Las Vegas markets). As stated though, that adds a solid half-hour and an additional switcher + crew at either location, beyond the necessary auto ramp, team track, and parking facilities. It’s also served at a hideously early hour (1:30a eastbound, but a much more reasonable 2:50p westbound), so the entire schedule would need modification.

The other issue is that the locomotives would need to have direct release braking installed and also be limited to 70 mph. That is, unless Amtrak specifies passenger-trucked auto carriers that are equivalent in capability to a Viewliner aka 110 mph. They’d essentially be baggage cars, as long as Amtrak could argue such to the FRA.

John_Perkowski
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Post by John_Perkowski » Sun Jul 21, 2019 11:36 am

AgentSkelly wrote:
Sat Jul 20, 2019 9:11 pm
You would have to find another super busy interstate route like I-95 that people would be willing to pay “to not drive their car”
BINGO. I-70, Baltimore to Chicago, with a pre load in NYC to link up. That would also help I-80 traffic.

The real issue is, you have to make the cost decent, and you have to provide the amenities meal stops provide.
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