• Moving to one terminal per big city - wise?

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by justalurker66
 
CUS has the west coast trains leaving between 1:45p and 2:50p with the east coast trains leaving between 5:45p and 9:30p. CoNO leaves at 8:05pm.
East coast arrivals are morning between 8:45a and 10:00a (including CoNO) making the shortest east to west connection 3hr 45min.
West coast arrivals are afternoons between 1:52p and 4:01 making the shortest west to east connection 1hr 44min (Empire Builder to Cardinal).
The next shortest west to east connection is 2hr 39min (Empire Builder to Capitol Limited).

Making up for a late train with a quick suburban bus connection (where possible) makes sense. With everything on time one might as well go in to Chicago for the connection. The train has to go to CUS anyways.

As for "outer suburb" stations, CoNO has Homewood, Cardinal has Dyer. The closest stop on the Limiteds is South Bend (the train having the fastest route to CUS). One could head west from Homewood or Dyer to avoid CUS - but with plenty of time on most connections one might as well use CUS.
  by mtuandrew
 
justalurker66 wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 1:58 amMaking up for a late train with a quick suburban bus connection (where possible) makes sense. With everything on time one might as well go in to Chicago for the connection. The train has to go to CUS anyways.

As for "outer suburb" stations, CoNO has Homewood, Cardinal has Dyer. The closest stop on the Limiteds is South Bend (the train having the fastest route to CUS). One could head west from Homewood or Dyer to avoid CUS - but with plenty of time on most connections one might as well use CUS.
I’d rather use a closer station than South Bend, Hammond-Whiting maybe (Gary would be better yet for interstate access, but I don’t think there’s station infrastructure there.) Otherwise, I’m all for a Thruway between Hammond-Whiting, Homewood, Naperville or Aurora, and Glenview. Add a Dyer bus connection if warranted, but I think it’s easier to just not guarantee that connection. :(
  by Arborwayfan
 
Given the number of times I've connected from someplace downstate IL to someplace on the CZ or the Lakeshore or Michigan service, I'm not surprised that there are a fair number of the pax on the LD trains who transfer. I'm also not surprised that a lot of transfer from state services. The typical traveler just sees trains. They don't know that some are subsidized by the states instead of by the feds. They just know when they leave and get in. A lot of them probably don't know that LD trains have more legroom, and in any case the corridor trains are still plenty comfortable. Once the Saluki existed for a midmorning departure from downstate, no one headed from Effingham to Albany would get up at 3 to catch the CONO unless they were a huge fan of dining car breakfasts (even the Cross-country cafe had decent served food) or really wanted that day at the Art Institute or Navy Pier in the middle of their trip. No one headed from Springfield to Minneapolis would take the Texas Eagle unless it happened to be at the most convenient time.

I'm actually a little suprised at how many pax on some of the LD trains transferred from other LDs. I wonder if a lot of those are East Coast to Mtns or West Coast travelers? Such a long way.

It'd be interesting to know how many of the pax who transfer to, from, or between LDs at Chicago are traveling long distances, and how many of them are travelling short distances but the LDs are a better schedule for them than the corridor trains, or there are no corridor trains. E.g. Galesburg-Chi-Lafayette would include the Cardinal and might include the Chief or the Zephyr, but it's not really a long-distance trip.
  by Jeff Smith
 
Okay, let's all lose the snark. One of the reasons I "dropped into" the thread was to really see what was going on. This goes for most, and I know this thread it's signaled for "bidirectional." No, I don't need to file a hurt feelings report, but when I post a theorem and ask interrogatives to see if same holds water, I don't expect a snarky reply. Believe me, I love a good argument, and I generally disregard snark, but given this thread history let's cut it out, shall we? :wink:

Thanks Andrew for that research and JPG. Those are interesting facts, and the numbers do indicate a decent amount of transfers, in most cases at least 10% or higher from "state-supported", i.e. "corridor" trains.

My surmise was more of a hunch, and it was not supported. The two arguments I boiled this down to were advantageous routing vs. easier routing. So in the theorem vs. theory corridor (https://english.stackexchange.com/quest ... and-theory), i.e. demonstrable vs. verifiable), where fewer transfers favors better routing, you'd inconvenience too many. I'm cool with that, and Lurker is correct, as is Arborway.

So would ANY of the CUS Amtrak be moved if the transfers are low enough? The three with under 10% are the Cardinal, LSL, and CapLtd. Do any of them benefit timetable wise from a different terminal? I'd hazard maybe the Cardinal (and not-so-dearly-departed Hoosier). What are the actual numbers of passengers, not percentages, per train? Just wondering.... :wink:
  by mtuandrew
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:57 amSo would ANY of the CUS Amtrak be moved if the transfers are low enough? The three with under 10% are the Cardinal, LSL, and CapLtd. Do any of them benefit timetable wise from a different terminal? I'd hazard maybe the Cardinal (and not-so-dearly-departed Hoosier). What are the actual numbers of passengers, not percentages, per train? Just wondering.... :wink:
The graphic I posted (still uncertain of the year) shows the yearly CHI departures, so working with that...

Texas Eagle: 59,210 Chicago origin (162/train); 333 connecting from western LD (>1/train); 11,576 connecting from eastern LD (32/train); 11,825 connecting from all state-supported service (32/train); 333 connecting from Thruway buses (>1/train.) Breaking corridor connections (moving them all aelsewhere) would inconvenience 33 people/; breaking corridor and LD connections (moving the Eagle) would inconvenience 67 people/day.

My lunch break is over, so someone else will have to finish the list :wink:
  by Jeff Smith
 
Yeah, that's one of them over 10%. I'd rule those out right away. I'm really only thinking the Cardinal.
  by justalurker66
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 10:57 amThe three with under 10% are the Cardinal, LSL, and CapLtd. Do any of them benefit timetable wise from a different terminal? I'd hazard maybe the Cardinal (and not-so-dearly-departed Hoosier).
The limiteds would be slowed by terminating anywhere but CUS. Unless that termination was some place ridiculous (such as Porter/Chesterton and the train ran empty to CUS for servicing). I offer the ridiculous example because it would help the train arrive "on time" ... even if it wasn't where people wanted to go. Pick any point west of Porter/Chesterton and you have introduced the congestion on the NS with which those two trains have the most problem. Once the train is in that congestion it might as well run to CUS - I don't see a place for a better terminal. Getting to existing stations would require track that does not exist and would still suffer the problems inflicted by NS.

The Cardinal suffers from a serious lack of alternatives. It arrives in Chicagoland in Munster - left turn only toward either UP or CN to head north (as detailed in other posts). Run it over to CN and terminate at Homewood and you can cut a lot of time off of the schedule. But you're probably targeting somewhere closer to 14th St/Roosevelt or Millennium. Save 20 minutes for the passengers then spend an hour or more of crew time getting the train somewhere where it can undergo the required mechanical service. Looking at rail connections in place I prefer the current routing over UP to CUS than moving it to CN then CUS. The risk of getting stopped by a freight at a couple of places headed north vs the time cost of doing a backup move.

Spend a few million dollars and the math changes. The 75th St Corridor will be built and it will remove a slow spot for the Cardinal. Grand Crossing is less likely to be built. If not CUS where do you want to run the Cardinal? And does the track exist to get there? I don't see a better terminal that is actually connected to its route or a potential re-route. Do you see one?
  by mtuandrew
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Wed Aug 19, 2020 11:28 am Yeah, that's one of them over 10%. I'd rule those out right away. I'm really only thinking the Cardinal.
Ok, here goes:

Cardinal: 23,040 total departures (appx 189 passengers/train 3x weekly); 15,805 Chicago origin (130/train); 5,322 western LDs (44/train); 323 eastern LDs (3/train); 1,452 state-supported (12/train); 115 Thruway (1/train)

The Cardinal actually depends more strongly on LD connections (western ones) than the previously-mentioned Texas Eagle on a per-train basis. That existing 3x/week departure schedule (aside from the COVID-19 cuts) makes any and all connections vital.
  by justalurker66
 
That is good for a 3x week train. I expect that arriving passengers make similar connections.
  by GWoodle
 
The Cardinal actually depends more strongly on LD connections (western ones) than the previously-mentioned Texas Eagle on a per-train basis. That existing 3x/week departure schedule (aside from the COVID-19 cuts) makes any and all connections vital.
Bet the Amtrak computer knows the Cardinal serves as the cleanup train for passengers from Chief or Zephyr or Builder to points east. Better be on Cardinal than stay 1 day for LSL, Capitol. Westbound should be early enough to meet 3pm departure to west. Eagle/CONO may add a few riders to the mix. I bet from Galesburg better to use the state train than wait for hours late Chief/Zephyr.

Good question of how often LD trains late enough to miss connections between the 3 East LD with 4 West + CONO. Most likely big hole in north/south go from Denver to Texas, Omaha to Minnesota, Midwest to Florida.

In traditional times was a pain to transfer from ATSF Dearborn station to CUS for PRR or La Salle for NTC. Into the 1950's was easier for pigs to cross town than passengers on taxis. For the 1 train per day on LD route better to have all trains consolidate to 1 station. Commuters & short state trains can go elsewhere.
Last edited by mtuandrew on Sat Aug 22, 2020 3:46 pm, edited 1 time in total. Reason: Fixed quote
  by Jeff Smith
 
Okay I'm good :wink: ! Since the point was raised, I felt the need to explore it, thanks for indulging my curiosity about Amtrak and CUS.

Now, how about NYG? Or Hoboken? Now, admittedly Hoboken is a huge hurdle and would only be for future service that won't happen anytime soon, and probably not Amtrak anyway.

But NYG? Yes, serious capacity issues, but for one or two Empire turns from Albany? I'd be curious, too, about NEC transfers to LD out of NYP (LSL, EA, Adirondack, Maple Leaf). I doubt it would work, but the ability to pick up an Empire at GCT and then transfer at ALB to an LD could work, and negate any need for those who only have access to NYP to make that ugh transfer.

Lastly, there's a wildcard at play: Cuomo's plan to speed up upstate service into the NY Metro. That could be Amtrak or others, and could be any of the terminals.
  by Arborwayfan
 
I don't know New York City very well at all, and I've never taken a train there except on the NEC. Would Empire trains be able to get to Grand Central Terminal faster than to Penn Station? Or would the main advantage be for people who wanted to be near Grand Central rather than near Penn Station?

Related:
Are the Empire Service trains normally frequent enough that people just walk up to the station and take the next one? Are they all reserved or do they have some unreserved seats? I'm basically thinking that having lots of trains and having them priced and reserved (or not) in a way that makes it easy to leave the choice of train to the last minute (or really the last hour or so) depending on how one's day goes is one good way to make the train convenient and attractive. Dividing that service between two different terminals dilutes the frequency and makes it just a little more complicated for passengers to have flexible plans -- which could discourage some ridership.
  by Safetee
 
from a historical point of view, thew primary focus of passenger service from upstate hudson folks to nyc was always to grand central until amtrak got its brain storm to consolidate in penn . the only gain by going to penn is for people from say albany , new york who can connect to their favorite train to tampa, florida. of course the rmarket for empire service for 99.9999 percent of the folks who regularly use that service is to get to and from manhattan where they work or have business connections or are just visiting the city.

the route to gct also includes 125th street station which gives a significant adavantage to people coming and going from uptown locations.

from a transportation connection point of view gct is hard to beat with its lexington ave transit station as well as the east side west side shuttle.

last but not least from an aesthetic point of view penn is one of the ugliest stations on the planet. gct is one of the most handsome.

put it all together, the penn station end game for the empire service complicates things at an already over complicated situation. i think if everybody thought about it a bit, gct should be the nyc terminal for upstate new yorkers just like the commodore envisioned it back in 1869.
  by Jeff Smith
 
I'm sure some enterprising person (cough, Andrew, cough LOL) can find those ridership stats. Frequency is seven a day according to Wiki; Amtrak still won't let you look at a timetable. I'm unsure if that includes or excludes the LD's. As for speed? I'd say congestion is far worse into GCT. It's a shame they've never connected the terminals.
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