conductorchris wrote: ↑Fri Sep 18, 2020 10:58 am A lot of these ideas for new stops represent a philosophy of making the train station more local to population (ie, the 100,000 or so people in Alexandria) or employment/business destinations (ie, Amazon in Crystal City). This stands in contrast to Amtrak's approach of letting a station serve a region with people traveling some distance (by car, generally) to get to the station.It makes sense to terminate in the City of Alexandria I suppose, both it and Arlington County are well-heeled and populous. But these guys are making some assumptions that may not be borne out for some time:
So far as I know, there is no real data on the ridership value of a more local approach. Amtrak says it costs $75 per stop (that's each time a train stops, not the cost over a year) in terms of extra fuel use and crewtime. Not sure if they include revenue NOT earned due to slower train time or the cost of assets sitting at the train station. Obviously that means a train stop needs to at least earn the cost of it's impact, but that isn't hard. The harder question is if the train station brings NEW riders or just DISPLACES riders from nearby stops. I tend to think Amtrak has got it wrong and these guys have it right, but we're just playing theoretical games given the lack of hard data.
a) electrification into Virginia
b) second Long Bridge
c) Crystal City/Reagan National Airport Station
d) high platforms at Alexandria Union Station
e) availability of a maintenance facility in the west end of Alexandria (likely NS Van Dorn Yard or nearby)
f) new equipment, whether these guys buy it or a government organization does
To e), new equipment wouldn’t need as much maintenance, and most railcars today come with guaranteed manufacturer support for major issues. For the remaining storage & maintenance needs, Alexandria’s city council would be very happy to have this asphalt plant and gravel/construction recycling site replaced by something “cleaner.”
As to your $75 per stop point, to profitably add a stop Amtrak needs to add $76 worth of revenue from either new passengers (people who would ride Amtrak from ARL who would skip Amtrak if they had to go to ALX or WAS) or from the marginal revenue of people riding just a little further from ARL at a higher ticket price. That second one is unlikely. To the first, it’s possible people would transfer from airlines if they could just walk to the railroad, it would be a boon to BWI <-> DCA transfers. Any local would just drive to one or the other station though - they aren’t going to get out of their cars or off a plane because Amtrak is a mile closer.
But Amtrak isn’t just about profit, it’s also about efficiency and equity. Once Virginia Railway Express builds a new facility to replace its existing Crystal City stop (which is wholly inadequate for intercity use and barely adequate for the current commuter service), Amtrak would do well to add it permanently. I think DC2RVA envisions this happening.