Amtrak Expansion Plan

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, Amtrak67 of America, Tadman, gprimr1

bostontrainguy
Posts: 1572
Joined: Sun Oct 23, 2011 11:14 am

Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by bostontrainguy » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:19 am

Wall Street Journal article (behind pay wall however):

Amtrak Plans to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains

Railroad wants to offer more service between cities in fast-growing regions. That could mean swapping sleepers for passenger cars

WASHINGTON—Seeking to attract millions more passengers, Amtrak is preparing a large-scale overhaul of its national network aimed at boosting passenger service in the South and West—but at the expense of long-haul routes beloved by train buffs and their allies in Congress.
Last edited by bostontrainguy on Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:28 am, edited 1 time in total.

Gilbert B Norman
Posts: 14078
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:52 am
Location: Clarendon Hills, IL (BNSF Chicago Sub; MP 18.71)

Network Growth Strategy - Version 2019

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 8:57 am

https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-pla ... mail_share" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Fair Use:
WASHINGTON—Seeking to attract millions more passengers, Amtrak is preparing a large-scale overhaul of its national network aimed at boosting passenger service in the South and West—but at the expense of long-haul routes beloved by train buffs and their allies in Congress.

The goal is to revamp the way Amtrak runs trains along the aging network of national routes it already maintains, with more frequent service between pairs of cities in the fastest-growing parts of the country, such as Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., or Cleveland and Cincinnati. Running more trains over shorter distances would allow Amtrak to better serve those commercial corridors where rail can compete with flying and driving, railroad officials said.

But that new service could come at the cost of curtailing some long-distance routes, where storied trains like the Empire Builder and the Southwest Chief have small but fervent bases of support and lineage stretching back to the golden age of railroads.
Looks like a dust off of the Warrington Y2K "Network Growth Strategy" - only this time instead of being focused around the "Mixed Train Daily", it is around ostensible Corridors operated over Class I's.

Wonder how this is landing in Richmond, Norfolk, Omaha, and Ft. Worth?
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:22 am, edited 1 time in total.

orulz
Posts: 340
Joined: Thu Oct 28, 2004 7:55 pm
Location: Raleigh, NC

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by orulz » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:06 am

Not being a subscriber to the WSJ, I can't read the article, but is this a scoop for them or is this information generally known?

Service in the inland urban areas of SC and GA is currently extremely poor, given the population and growth. I would agree that if Amtrak wants to boost ridership outside of the Northeast Corridor, this is the way to do it. I do have mixed feelings on reallocating resources away from the national network in order to focus on corridors that really should be getting way more support at the state level than they do, but that said:
  • Charlotte-Atlanta might be the lowest hanging fruit in the entire country. Those two cities are big and have a lot of economic ties. The Crescent makes the run in about 5.5 hours which is a little slow, but incremental upgrades are possible
  • Charlotte-Columbia could be operated as an extension of some Piedmont trains
  • Greenville-Spartanburg-Columbia-(Sumter?)-Charleston could be a promising intrastate corridor along the lines of NC's Piedmont or Virginia's proposed "Trans Dominion Express"

electricron
Posts: 4641
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:35 pm

Re: Network 2000 Redux

Post by electricron » Wed Feb 20, 2019 9:16 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:https://www.wsj.com/articles/amtrak-pla ... mail_share

Fair Use and comments to follow
There are two similar posts in the same day, I responded to this thread because the link works.
Whereas I like the general proposal of providing more "day" trains vs continuing "night" trains forever unadjusted to routes in service 50 years ago, there is a whole lot of nothing in details of which "day" trains are being planned. And that makes it difficult to support.

How many times have I complained about the lack of train service between Dallas and Houston? How many times have others complained about 1 am service in Ohio. Kansas, or the Carolinas? Yet, with long distance trains we know what exists, we do not know which replacement "day" trains are being proposed. I would prefer to know what these alternates are.

New replacements of Superliners is the unknown for keeping long distance trains around. Can anyone make a new Superliner that meets FRA crash standards? Do we have to with the new crushable crash standards? Could DMUs train sets of lets say 4 to 6 cars in length (Stadler FLIRTs and others manufacturers) be the plan for introducing many "day" trains? How much state subsidies will be required for these obvious less than 750 mile "day" train routes? There are lots of unknowns at this time.

But now is the time to discuss it, because decisions over replacing Superliner equipment is on the near horizon.

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3452
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Network Growth Strategy - Version 2019

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:20 pm

About a month ago when Amtrak released its plan for replacing Amfleets, it didn’t say anything about self propelled trainsets. Everything that they operate will be locomotive hauled, even on state sponsored corridor routes.

Amtrak should continue to run their long distance trains while expanding on their corridor route mileage. Many people don’t just depend on long distance trains to travel between two cities a few thousand miles apart. There are people might live in a rural community and they may have to travel to doctor appointments in a larger town 100 miles away.

dgvrengineer
Posts: 182
Joined: Tue Mar 08, 2011 10:22 am

Re: Network Growth Strategy - Version 2019

Post by dgvrengineer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:29 pm

I'm all for more day trains connecting major traffic centers, but this should be done to supplement long distance trains. There are many city pairs that need frequent day service not well served by the current long distance trains, but don't cut one to obtain the other. Curtailing long distance trains means a loss of service for many communities. I think Congress would be receptive to the purchase of new long distance equipment(bi-level or single level) and day service equipment. The big problem might be the current administration(Amtrak and government).

Arlington
Posts: 4042
Joined: Wed Jun 02, 2004 7:51 am
Location: Medford MA (was Arlington MA and Arlington VA)

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Arlington » Wed Feb 20, 2019 12:32 pm

WSJ: Amtrak Plan to Expand Ridership Could Sidetrack Storied Trains
(I don't remember if I'm a subscriber or if I got this as a registered-but-not-paying user)
'd say the salient parts are:
The goal is to revamp the way Amtrak runs trains along the aging network of national routes it already maintains, with more frequent service between pairs of cities in the fastest-growing parts of the country, such as Atlanta and Charlotte, N.C., or Cleveland and Cincinnati. Running more trains over shorter distances would allow Amtrak to better serve those commercial corridors where rail can compete with flying and driving, railroad officials said.
WSJ says will know more next month when the 5 year asset (fleet) plan comes out, which may reflect fewer sleeper & diner coaches in favor of More corridor equipment.

CEO Anderson has testified: "The demand is clearly there for additional short-corridor service throughout the U.S., which includes both additional frequencies for existing routes and establishing new routes between city pairs."

Examples cited:
MEM-NOL (re doing CONO route as day corridors)
ATL-CLT

And the problem of assuming demand is end-to-end means that CLE's trains are at 1:45am & 2:53am (to which I'd add: same goes for CIN & CLT)
--------------
You will not be surprised to learn that I think they're right in the direction they're going. CONO is a natural for day trains that run CHI-MEM and NOL-MEM, and probably twice a day. The world of roads, cars, southern urban centers, and air travel have changed so much since A-Day, just about the *least likely* conclusion of any market study would be "we should run it the same as we always have" It is like expecting to win a rock-paper-scissors tournament with an "I always throw 'rock'" strategy.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn

User avatar
Tadman
Posts: 9486
Joined: Wed Sep 01, 2004 10:21 am

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Tadman » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:05 pm

Arlington wrote:
The world of roads, cars, southern urban centers, and air travel have changed so much since A-Day, just about the *least likely* conclusion of any market study would be "we should run it the same as we always have" It is like expecting to win a rock-paper-scissors tournament with an "I always throw 'rock'" strategy.
Well said. What else works like it did in 1971? A route map that ensures butts in seats rather than lines on a map is a good thing.
Dig the new rr.net Instagram account: @railroad_dot_net

Philly Amtrak Fan
Posts: 362
Joined: Wed Apr 06, 2016 7:22 am
Location: Philly Area

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Philly Amtrak Fan » Wed Feb 20, 2019 1:37 pm

MSN Article:
https://www.msn.com/en-us/money/compani ... KFOuDoA8x4" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

frequentflyer
Posts: 276
Joined: Wed Jan 12, 2011 9:28 am

Re: Network Growth Strategy - Version 2019

Post by frequentflyer » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:06 pm

njt/mnrrbuff wrote:About a month ago when Amtrak released its plan for replacing Amfleets, it didn’t say anything about self propelled trainsets. Everything that they operate will be locomotive hauled, even on state sponsored corridor routes.

Amtrak should continue to run their long distance trains while expanding on their corridor route mileage. Many people don’t just depend on long distance trains to travel between two cities a few thousand miles apart. There are people might live in a rural community and they may have to travel to doctor appointments in a larger town 100 miles away.
https://transportation.house.gov/imo/me ... timony.pdf" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I didn't get that impression. Anderson seems open to it. Its why the RFP was so vague.

Page 16
"In FY2018 Amtrak launched an Amfleet replacement RFI. To survey
the greatest possible number of qualified vendors, technologies, and products in the global marketplace, Amtrak has expressed interest in solutions including, dual-powered, diesel or electric
multiple units MUs), unpowered trainsets, and single cars. While Amtrak’s current fleet is mostly
made up of individual railcars today, the global marketplace for intercity corridor rail passenger
equipment since the 1970s has shifted towards trainsets with cabs at both ends, which eliminate
the need to loop or wye equipment between trips. Amtrak’s RFI was designed to determine how
the railroad can best tap into this global marketplace of products and expertise. Amtrak issued
an RFP for Amfleet I replacement equipment on January 18, 2019, using information learned
from the RFI process and a performance-based specification developed by Amtrak and other
stakeholders. Amtrak plans to make a contract award for base orders of one or more equipment
solutions
to replace Amfleet I and ex-Metroliner equipment, with options for additional fleet expansion in FY2019. Deliveries of Amfleet I replacement units will likely occur during the earlyto-mid 2020s, following deliveries of Avelia Liberty high-speed trainsets."

Station Aficionado
Posts: 1757
Joined: Tue Apr 21, 2009 10:15 pm
Location: Virginia

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Station Aficionado » Wed Feb 20, 2019 4:16 pm

So, this is what’s known in the biz as a trial balloon. A well-placed leak gives notice to Congress of a possible forthcoming proposal in order to gauge support/opposition. Amtrak is teeing up for Congress the ultimate question of what Amtrak should be. Since it’s inception, Congress has wanted Amtrak to be all things to all people, but has never adequately either corridor or LD service. Amtrak is now saying we can’t continue this way. We think the best use of our assets is corridor service. And if you-Congress-want to see the LDs continue, then you’ll need to specifically fund that. We’ll see what Congress decides (and it is ultimately their call).

I will restate my prior position. All modern rail systems are based on high frequency service. LDs can have a small role in this-either as additional corridor frequencies—the Starlight and the east coast trains—or by simply preserving passenger access and infrastructure for possible future service. But their role in the overall national transportation system is vanishingly small. They do have value as essential transportation for a lot of intermediate stops. There is an argument that such service is a national responsibility, but if resources are inadequate to meet all needs, I’d allocate them to corridor service (although that’s easy for me to say, living on the easr coast).

Dcell
Posts: 178
Joined: Mon Jan 22, 2007 9:14 pm

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Dcell » Wed Feb 20, 2019 5:53 pm

I read the article and I really like what Mr. Anderson is proposing. Corridor service is very attractive, especially when a traveler now needs to get to an airport 2 hours ahead of flight time. add in baggage claims time upon landing and getting out of the airport and you are close to 3 hours of time used up outside of actual flight time. I’d rather be on the train. It’s time to refocus Amtrak’s resources to where it can be a real alternative to flying. The long distance trains are very nostalgic but obsolete. Some routes are extremely scenic and a private land cruise operator like Rocky Mountaineer could run such a service with deluxe sleepers and deluxe dining cars for those would want a scenic land cruise in the Rockies.

gokeefe
Posts: 11845
Joined: Sat Feb 16, 2008 12:28 pm
Location: Winthrop, Maine

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by gokeefe » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:21 pm

A few days ago I found a map buried in a PowerPoint from some testimony but thought nothing if it.

I noticed at the time that it appeared to imply a permanent cancellation of all of the transcontinental long distance services.
gokeefe

Train60
Posts: 79
Joined: Wed Jul 05, 2017 6:31 pm
Location: New England

Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Post by Train60 » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:48 pm

gokeefe wrote:A few days ago I found a map buried in a PowerPoint from some testimony but thought nothing if it.

I noticed at the time that it appeared to imply a permanent cancellation of all of the transcontinental long distance services.
Thank you very much for sharing this. I think you may be reading to much into the map on page 14 or the presentation, if that is your reference point. But what is clear is that there is no mention of replacement for the National Network fleet aka the Superliners in this presentation.

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3452
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Re: Network Growth Strategy - Version 2019

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Feb 20, 2019 6:50 pm

There are so many city pairs that could make very good potential corridor routes. Let's start off with Ohio.
1. Cleveland to Columbus and Cincinatti(proposed many times)
2. Cleveland to Chicago
3. Columbus to Chicago
4. Cincinatti to Chicago
5. Pittsburgh to Chicago

In the Southwest, maybe have these routes.
1. Phoenix to Los Angeles
2. Tuscon to PA. I know that on and off, there have been proposals to run a train from LA to Indio).

Return to “Amtrak”