• 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
 
electricron wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 6:59 amIf 1600 feet is too far to walk in downtown Chicago, it is too far to walk out in residential neighborhoods as well. No one expects door to door service with public transit in residential neighborhoods, why do they expect it downtown?
My threshold is how many people walk through the building door where the bus stops. In a residential area a bus would stop at the corner instead of at each house. It might stop at the door of a large apartment complex if the number of passengers was sufficient. CUS has bus service a lot closer than 1600ft and it should since the location has a lot of passengers.

The threshold for a rail station would be higher. The first challenge is getting the rails past the point where one wants the station. No rails makes the connection more expensive. If rails are present one only has to deal with the cost of the station ... including the cost to the service level by slowing trains for the new station. A major train station (such as CUS) would be worth having a station at if CTA rail passed the location. Probably not worth the expense of relocating a CTA rail line.

So what can be done? When the connection is close one can make the connection more pleasant. It isn't a 1600ft walk to Clinton (Blue) and that is the station listed on the CUS website (the other Clinton and Wells are listed as alternatives). The buses are also listed and they stop much closer to the station.

The current setup is probably "good enough" - especially considering the cost of doing better. At least a CTA rail station at CUS would be an improvement not a detriment to current service. Lets spend millions (billions) to make service worse is a non-starter.
  by Tadman
 
Arborwayfan wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 9:32 am
The above idea makes the planned and unplanned times even longer, still drops the passengers at a terminal different than CUS (the idea you so vehemently oppose), and adds 5 degrees of new complexity for the rider, and continues to use the SCAL.
Nobody here has opposed dropping passengers who want to be somewhere along the Michigan Avenue Cliff at Van Buren or Millenium. People have opposed (and some people have merely questioned) dropping all the passengers from the CN-IC trains there, because some do transfer at CUS and some presumably want to be over by CUS rather than over by the lake, and because there would be various capital and operating costs for Amtrak to make that change.
Right, but nobody gets out of bed in Champagne or Carbondale and says "by golly I'd rather go to Randolph Street Station Today!" and even less get out of bed and say "by golly I'd rather go to Randolph Street Station Today and change trains in homewood to a pokeyass local full of commuters in tiny chairs.

They're getting out of bed in champange with one thing in mind: "If Amtrak can't get me downtown in an efficient manner I'm going to drive, and last time we did a lot of backing up and scooting around for 30 minutes with the tall buildings in site, this is their last chance"

As we analyze solutions, we have to pretend there are no railfans. Just irate travelers. I sit next to them at the bar in New Buffalo and they cannot imagine why Amtrak takes so long to get to NBU or why Norfolk Southern delays them. They don't even know what Norfolk Southern is, and they just dont care when the conductor makes excuses.
  by mtuandrew
 
Again, these are two separate problems.

“Freight delays” are a real issue, especially because they aren’t consistent in time, place, or cause. A delay could be anything from a broken knuckle coupler to a directive from a hostile boardroom, or even just a poor handoff between dispatchers. Sometimes it’s even a different host road that causes the issue, and the new host can’t feasibly fix it. And sometimes, it’s a route directly through a busy yard or ten on a vital mainline. (NS Crescent and Chicago Lines, BNSF Northern and Southern Transcons, etc.) The basic route is sound, enough of us have experienced flawless handoffs at Porter, IN and elsewhere, but things have to work right without much margin of error. Which brings me to:

Amtrak avoidable delays. Unlike freight roads, Amtrak’s cargo complains, dawdles, has medical emergencies, gets confused, and any 1001 other issues. Amtrak has less crew in bases and more per train, so that can be a problem if there isn’t a full crew available - or if a crew member complains, dawdles, has a medical emergency, etc. (No one’s saying Amtrak employees are perfect.) Amtrak equipment is in rougher shape than it ought to be too, despite the best efforts of Beech Grove, Bear, Wilmington, and the outlying shops. The average P42 sees more miles per unit with less available maintenance time - citation needed :wink: - than freight locomotives. So too with LD passenger cars, and at higher speeds with much more complex systems than an intermodal well car or tank car. And aside from a few hundred miles of self-owned track, Amtrak utterly depends on goodwill from its hosts - public or private. I would be leery of “giving the railroad” to a train whose engines break down weekly.

Whatever Amtrak’s issues are, moving some terminations to a different station won’t fix them.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:31 pmRight, but nobody gets out of bed in Champagne or Carbondale and says "by golly I'd rather go to Randolph Street Station Today!" and even less get out of bed and say "by golly I'd rather go to Randolph Street Station Today and change trains in homewood to a pokeyass local full of commuters in tiny chairs.
They wake up and say "I am going to Chicago today". The train goes to CUS with the option of changing trains at Homewood or taking another train out of CUS if a second train will get them further along the way. (No extra time needed at Homewood - just let the people off and roll on toward the city.) Only a railfan (like you) would be going to the station and not beyond. The train goes where the train goes. Most people are smart enough to figure out transportation after they arrive in Chicago. Having the train terminate in a hub makes that transportation easier.
Tadman wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 2:31 pmAs we analyze solutions, we have to pretend there are no railfans. Just irate travelers. I sit next to them at the bar in New Buffalo and they cannot imagine why Amtrak takes so long to get to NBU or why Norfolk Southern delays them. They don't even know what Norfolk Southern is, and they just dont care when the conductor makes excuses.
Wow. Those guys in New Buffalo must be overserved if they think moving the Carbondale trains will speed up their journey to New Buffalo. They must be overserved if they believe taking the same NS train line to LaSalle station would be faster than staying on NS to 21st St and CUS.
  by justalurker66
 
mtuandrew wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:14 pmWhatever Amtrak’s issues are, moving some terminations to a different station won’t fix them.
And that is the bottom line.
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:23 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 3:14 pmWhatever Amtrak’s issues are, moving some terminations to a different station won’t fix them.
And that is the bottom line.
You have yet to actually prove that. Right now we have two bodies of hard fact:
1. the Amtrak way which is proven to be broken
2. the old way which is proven to work

We also have stations in 4 of 5 of the original terminal sites, despite your assertions otherwise.
  by Tadman
 
justalurker66 wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:18 pm They wake up and say "I am going to Chicago today".
And then they get in their car and drive to Chicago.
justalurker66 wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:18 pm The train goes to CUS with the option of changing trains at Homewood or taking another train out of CUS if a second train will get them further along the way. (No extra time needed at Homewood - just let the people off and roll on toward the city.)
Nobody makes that change at Homewood. Nobody.

And you do need extra time, as there is no guaranteed connections, so you have to wait. It's going to be at least 15 minutes and perhaps an hour.
justalurker66 wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:18 pm Only a railfan (like you) would be going to the station and not beyond.
That is literally the exact opposite of what I've said in this entire thread. Every point I've made has been based on going past the station to a real destination. I have the business travel to back it up.
justalurker66 wrote: Mon Aug 10, 2020 4:18 pm Wow. Those guys in New Buffalo must be overserved if they think moving the Carbondale trains will speed up their journey to New Buffalo. They must be overserved if they believe taking the same NS train line to LaSalle station would be faster than staying on NS to 21st St and CUS.
I never said that. Go ahead and point to where I said that.

Image

The overall point of this thread has and always will be about a strategy of using the natural terminals at the end of the line to avoid handoffs and complexity. It's not just about Carbondale, it's not just about Detroit. It's about needless complexity and meeting real needs of paying passengers

I'm sure you think you're clever trying to change my arguments and then play the victim because I'm so mean.
  by mtuandrew
 
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:45 amYou have yet to actually prove that. Right now we have two bodies of hard fact:
1. the Amtrak way which is proven to be broken
2. the old way which is proven to work

We also have stations in 4 of 5 of the original terminal sites, despite your assertions otherwise.
When did anyone assert that the stations don’t exist, excepting Central (which is more or less McCormick or Roosevelt), Dearborn, Englewood (not a terminal) and Grand Central? Well... I’m waiting!! :P

And ok, find us timetables from: the last privately-operated Panama Limited, Twentieth Century Limited, and Super Chief;
the first Amtrak City of New Orleans, Lake Shore, and Super Chief (Southwest Limited); and today’s iterations of those trains. Prove that 1. there’s a significant difference in last-mile timing between the private trains and their early Amtrak equivalents, and 2. there’s no significant difference between early and modern Amtrak. As you like to remind us, it’s your thread, so you need to prove your point.
  by Tadman
 
mtuandrew wrote: And ok, find us timetables f
I think we're going in circles here. I just posted the Metra Electric times Homewood-Randolph in comparison to Amtrak times downtown.
Tadman wrote: Thu Aug 06, 2020 2:15 pm
A better comparison is the Homewood run. The City gets 50m out, 1:30 in. The Illini gets 40 out, 1:15 in. No stops.

Metra does it in 38 out, 41 in. Five stops on a Harvey zone train. A Kensington local does it in 42 with more stops than I can count.
If you insist on a streamliner timetable, here is IC's Panama doing Central-Homewood with one stop in between at 25 out and 30 in. http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/con ... 96801.html

And remember, the assertion is not just about scheduled running time. The assertion is that the unplanned snafus at the handoffs are half or more of the problem. The SCAL requires handing from CN to SCAL which is a three-owner (CN BN UP) property and then onto BN, stop, wait for signal, back up, hand off to Amtrak, back more 1-2 miles through the busiest wye in town and into station.

And if you don't want to take my word for that assertion, know that author Alan R. Lind in "Limiteds Along the Lakefront" book about IC history describes BN as flat-out denying Amtrak the use of that route for the complexity it presented and the chances that something would go wrong on the way. Amtrak was forced to ride the SCAL all the way to the IC Iowa lines handoff and then back up, cross over to GM&O trackage, and over the river into union station.

This is a real problem and it has documented and timetabled evidence.
  by StLouSteve
 
I will say, even as a railfan, being a nonChicago resident, I sometimes lose my way trying to go from Union to Ogilve (Northwestern) using the buildings and skywalks--which is very useful during the winter season. Some simple signage or a stripe on the floor would work wonders.

Why go to Ogilve--the food court (French Market) is a hundred times better than Union--and perfect to carry out when making a Union Station connection.
  by electricron
 
Do not use Amtrak’s schedules of the next to last station and the terminating station of a train for run times, because Amtrak pad these every time. The real running time for this section of track is on the departing Amtrak schedule. For your example, for the City as was posted earlier, 50 minutes out vs 90 minutes in. That extra 40 minutes in is all padding, and nothing else. You will see similar padding on every Amtrak train, no matter where.

If IC run time was really just 45 minutes into downtown Chicago from the same station in the past, is 5 minutes of delay to go to a unified station worth it? Considering the off train staffing needs at terminating stations, Amtrak will certainly answer yes.
  by STrRedWolf
 
electricron wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 11:30 am Do not use Amtrak’s schedules of the next to last station and the terminating station of a train for run times, because Amtrak pad these every time. The real running time for this section of track is on the departing Amtrak schedule. For your example, for the City as was posted earlier, 50 minutes out vs 90 minutes in. That extra 40 minutes in is all padding, and nothing else. You will see similar padding on every Amtrak train, no matter where.
Agreed. The first time I took the Pennsylvanian to Pittsburgh, somehow I got there at 7pm or so, and I was impressed. The next year, with two reverse moves over switches (the conductors were being transparent), I got in at 8pm. A little bit of padding, enough for minor issues on the line.
  by justalurker66
 
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:45 amYou have yet to actually prove that. Right now we have two bodies of hard fact:
1. the Amtrak way which is proven to be broken
2. the old way which is proven to work
Those are your assertions - not bodies of hard fact - and we have been trying to get you to prove your point since the beginning of this thread. It is your plan to decentralize. It is your responsibility to offer proof.
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:45 amWe also have stations in 4 of 5 of the original terminal sites, despite your assertions otherwise.
And tracks connecting those stations to the trains you want to send to them? Don't forget that you made the claims earlier that your plan would not need construction.
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:53 amNobody makes that change at Homewood. Nobody.
Not one person ever? Well that is a bold claim.
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:53 amAnd you do need extra time, as there is no guaranteed connections, so you have to wait. It's going to be at least 15 minutes and perhaps an hour.
The point is the Amtrak train does not have to wait. Your initial violent rebuke of the idea of transferring at Homewood was the layover time for Amtrak before heading into the city. The train already stops there with no layover beyond a normal station stop to discharge passengers. Amtrak doesn't have to wait for the connecting train.
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:53 amThe overall point of this thread has and always will be about a strategy of using the natural terminals at the end of the line to avoid handoffs and complexity.
Your idea of what is and is not a natural terminal is unnatural.
Tadman wrote: Tue Aug 11, 2020 8:53 amI'm sure you think you're clever trying to change my arguments and then play the victim because I'm so mean.
And when you can't support your arguments you turn to insults. We are all the victims of your constant harassment. If you could "win" your argument you would stick to the point you want to make and not keep posting insults. But your plan and your arguments have no merit.
  by Red Wing
 
Well here's a question how many railroads back in the day went to more than one terminal? They all as far as I can tell went to "their" terminal and nowhere else I'm sure the fees to use other terminals would have been excessive. The only railroad I can think of that used more than one terminal was the New Haven and that was just for trains that were not terminating in New York.

Why should Amtrak pay fees to other carriers when they own their own station? Are you willing to pay extra on your ticket for that convenience for the end point that you want?
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