Cardinal discussion

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

Paris06

Cardinal

Post by Paris06 » Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:48 pm

The greatest asset the Cardinal has is Senator Robert Byrd.

wigwagfan
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Location: Portland, Oregon

Re: Cardinal Viability?

Post by wigwagfan » Mon Dec 04, 2006 1:29 am

capltd29 wrote:because of low ridership.
Please define low ridership.
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Erik Halstead - Portland, Oregon

Sam Damon

Post by Sam Damon » Tue Dec 05, 2006 10:02 am

Senator Byrd has ensured the Cardinal will operate by making it the only train Amtrak has to run by statute.

IMO, the steps to improve ridership on #50/51 should be:

o On-board service beyond reproach (like the B&O used to compete)

o Full diner in high season (first week in May through New Year's holiday)

o Co-marketing with The Greenbriar (amp up that nostalgia factor)

o Daily operation in high season

YMMV.

gprimr1
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Location: Towson Maryland

Post by gprimr1 » Tue Dec 05, 2006 12:25 pm

May I suggest Senator Byrd also find some money to restore the dome car located in Amtrak's storage yards, or purchase new viewliner domes and run them in season (Sept-Nov)
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale

themallard
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Location: New Jersey

Amtrak (Cardinal) business on the rise

Post by themallard » Tue Dec 05, 2006 5:40 pm

More folks are hopping aboard the Amtrak Cardinal this year to dodge the hassles of airport security and high gas prices.

Amtrak spokeswoman Karina Romero says ridership on the Cardinal is up 5 percent from last year, carrying 90,542 passengers in 2005 to 95,076 this year...

"The high price of gas and the difficulties of airline security, such as not being allowed to bring shampoo on board, has contributed to our ridership increases," Romero said. "You can bring shampoo on Amtrak."...

...Charleston Mayor Danny Jones has been one of Amtrak's biggest users and supporters in the area. Jones, a Republican, is pleased with the slight progress made by the rail service and believes Amtrak will survive under a Democrat-controlled Congress.

"With Democrats in power, that means transportation in big cities and urban areas will get funding," Jones said. "But some feel that government shouldn't be in the business of subsidizing the railroad."...
Charleston Daily Mail

The Metropolitan
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Location: BAL - Birthplace of American Railroading

Post by The Metropolitan » Tue Dec 05, 2006 6:14 pm

I rode the Cardinal on a Sunday back in September from BAL to CHI, and found it to be an interesting train. We boarded in BAL with about 50% load factor, left DC with about 70% load factor, and lost some of that en route, though there was a lot of exchange at each stop enroute. We seemed to be boarding just as many people as were alighting all the way to Charlottesville, when the train began to thin out as we made our way into the West Virginia towns.

Front coach of the three was closed off at Prince, as the load dropped below 50% for a time, until Charleston, when we began to pick up our boardings again. On leaving Huntingdon, our two coaches were nearing full once again.

At either CIN or IND, the third coach was again opened, as we had some sizable boardings to replace those disembarking, and by the time we came into CHI, we were somewhere in the 70-80% load factor. Admittedly, I don't think ANYONE who was aboard our coach when we boarded in BAL was still there when we pulled into CHI, but that's what is so interesting about this train. Not a lot of end-to-end ridership, but a suprising amount of traffic at each stop on the way.

It would be interesting to be able to compare the BOARDINGS per mile of this train with other LD trains.

gprimr1
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Location: Towson Maryland

Post by gprimr1 » Tue Dec 05, 2006 8:40 pm

I'd be curious to know if it being 3 times a week makes it easier or harder for the host railroad to accommodate.
-Greg Primrose
Moderator: General Discussion: High Speed Rail Amtrak
"I'm leaving on a jet train, don't know when I'll be back again. Bags are packed and there ready to go."
Ave Atque Vale

capltd29

Re: Cardinal Viability?

Post by capltd29 » Wed Dec 06, 2006 9:47 pm

wigwagfan wrote:
capltd29 wrote:because of low ridership.
Please define low ridership.

Well, i kind of assumed low ridership because of the factors mentioned(tri-weekly, thin consisit, etc)

I would define low ridership as about 50% for long periods. Once again, i know nothing about the performance of this train.

Jersey_Mike
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Location: CHARLES aka B&P JCT MP 95.9

Post by Jersey_Mike » Wed Dec 06, 2006 11:19 pm

I just rode the Cardinal last month, my second ride on that train, and on both trips the Card was absolutely packed. I heard that the train turns over 3 times over the course of it's run...that means you take the number of seats and triple it to get the total number of passengers. The cardinal seriously needs to be expanded to 4 days a week if not more.

If Byrd were smart he's earmark some $$ to build a connection between the Southern main and the C&O line at Cullpepper(?) as the C&O branch through Gordon is slow as snails and using the NS route could cut 30 min off the trip.

I also found the service on the Cardinal to be very good. The biggest problem is the Sleeper / Private cars habitually on the back which eliminate the railfan view and the severe overcrowding in cattle class. Also, the sleepers cost about 2-3x as much as they do on the Cap / LSL. While it makes sense (fewer rooms and each usually handles two passengers during the trip), a second sleeper would not be wasted.

Gilbert B Norman
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Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:52 am

gprimr1 wrote:I'd be curious to know if it being 3 times a week makes it easier or harder for the host railroad to accommodate.
The impact of Tri-Weekly operation falls more on Amtrak than on the Class I host. Tri Weekly operation results in less effective utilization of equipment, and even more so, T&E crews. While I'm not certain, I would dare say that somewhere on either the Cardinal or Sunset, there is an assignment calling for an excessive layover (24+) - possibly even a paid deadhead.

To the host, the off days of a Tri-Weekly operation simply represents one more train that can get over the road. Balanced freight operations, i.e. so many a day in one direction equal in the other, is quite difficult to attain.

Tom Curtin
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Post by Tom Curtin » Thu Dec 07, 2006 8:30 am

I just rode the Cardinal last month, my second ride on that train, and on both trips the Card was absolutely packed.
I was on the Cardinal a few trips and found it packed too!!
build a connection between the Southern main and the C&O line at Cullpepper(?) as the C&O branch through Gordon is slow as snails and using the NS route could cut 30 min off the trip.
The piece of line you're talking about is between Orange, VA, where the ex-C&O passenger route diverges from the ex-Southern route, and Gordonsville, VA. I think I read the speed is 30 mph there. While they probably could save some time if it were possible to run NS all the way to C'ville, I doubt if it's 30 min.

palmland
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Post by palmland » Thu Dec 07, 2006 9:57 am

Tom Curtin wrote:The piece of line you're talking about is between Orange, VA, where the ex-C&O passenger route diverges from the ex-Southern route, and Gordonsville, VA. I think I read the speed is 30 mph there. While they probably could save some time if it were possible to run NS all the way to C'ville, I doubt if it's 30 min.
On my last trip through Staunton, VA, I talked with the Buckingham Branch folks who operate the line from Orange to Clifton Forge. Plans are in the works to use the Southern but believe a new or upgraded Charlottesville connection is required. This month they will be taking over the distpatching of the trains. Previously CSX dispatchers in JAX had been handling it. This has to help the timekeeping.

Jersey_Mike
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Location: CHARLES aka B&P JCT MP 95.9

Post by Jersey_Mike » Thu Dec 07, 2006 7:44 pm

Where is the Buckingham Branch going to be dispatching things from? Gordon tower :-D ?

And yeah, on my trip we had to meet P051 east of Charlottesville and it took forever to get the dispatcher to get off his ass and handle the move.

palmland
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Post by palmland » Fri Dec 08, 2006 5:33 pm

Jersey_Mike wrote:Where is the Buckingham Branch going to be dispatching things from? Gordon tower :-D ?

And yeah, on my trip we had to meet P051 east of Charlottesville and it took forever to get the dispatcher to get off his ass and handle the move.
Plans are to use their office in Staunton for dispatching.

dm84

Post by dm84 » Fri Dec 08, 2006 7:31 pm

My brother and I rode the Cardinal from NYP-CHI over a year ago.

Aside from the fact that it was a long f-ing ride in coach, I liked it. There were about 10 of us on the car who were end-to-end riders. The scenery in WV was pretty cool.

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