• If you could restore a defunct Amtrak route

  • 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 MickD
 
The Cape Codder summer train Amtrak ran from 1986-'96..
Run right it could work..
  by gokeefe
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 10:49 amMuch as it would be nice to have a Federal Government that could provide for every last want and ostensible need for everyone, you simply can't.
Agreed. My point was with regards to service modifications of existing routes to divide between "express" and "local". Amtrak's "secret sauce" has become the ability to tolerate a reasonable number of small town stations while still serving major urban areas with transit times that the public will tolerate.
  by Arborwayfan
 
No train operating over private freight railroads is going to go fast enough to compete with air travel between major cities unless those cities are very close (like Chicago and Milwaukee). Acela is just barely time competitive between Manhattan and downtown Boston, and that's on Amtrak's own tracks. And of course Amtrak isn't getting business travelers from New York to Chicago even with a no-stop express at 200 mph.

BUT trips can be competitive with air over a somewhat longer distance (250 miles at regular speeds, maybe) if they are between places without major airports, which to me is a good reason to put more rather than fewer stops in small cities and large towns. The low-hanging fruit of US passenger rail is fairly short-distance trips, catering to people who can't drive, to people without cars, to people who don't want to have a car when they get where they are going, to people who don't want to drive a particular route, to people who can work or do hobbies while on a train better than while driving, and to people who've noticed that the cost of driving is a lot higher than just the gas and tolls. A lot of those people live or or are going to small cities and big towns not so far from big cities, and if the train is passing through I think it's worth stopping for them.

For both of those markets, I think it makes more sense to serve every significant place along the way than to be 10% faster between the endpoints by skipping some potential stops.

Note that I'm not talking about, to quote Dickens, "a network of railways in all directions possible and impossible"; I'm not talking about a bunch of one-a-day LD routes designed to be sure that not just Champaign, but also Monticello and Bement, Illinois, get their trains. I'm talking about keeping or adding routes and frequencies in places with reasonable travel demand, and then serving all the reasonably-sized places along a route, and erring on the side of more stops rather than fewer. Speed isn't everything. Neither is long distance connectivity. I like LD trains and hope the few we have remain, but the new service with the best chance of either paying a lot of its operating costs or making the subsidy worthwhile by attracting lots of practical travelers is going to be multiple daily trains on one- or two-hundred mile corridors with a lot of 25-100 mile travelers from cities and towns that might be just 20 miles apart. Much better to add a new frequency to an existing route, even if that means buying the host railroad some new sidings or double track, than to go through the capital investment of creating new stations, new host railroad agreements, etc., just to add another one-a-day route.
  by railgeekteen
 
I'm going to rank major discontinued long-distance Amtrak routes based on how much I want to see them come back

Floridan
National Limited
Broadway Limited
Lone Star
Sunset East
Pioneer
Desert Wind
NCH
  by John_Perkowski
 
Rather than restoring a defunct route, I’d be looking for unserved/underserved city pairs where multiple runs per day would be justifiable.
  by bostontrainguy
 
John_Perkowski wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 2:20 am Rather than restoring a defunct route, I’d be looking for unserved/underserved city pairs where multiple runs per day would be justifiable.
That's what Amtrak is proposing.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:24 pm Not sure that Amtrak has ever had a STL-MEM line but I think that has potential too.
They did and it flopped.

The two car train, a Dome-Coach and a Food Service operated over the SRY rather thann the traditional IC. It was then joined with the City at Carbondale.

Can't remember off the top of my head the dates, but it was pre-Superliner. Maybe WGC era considering the SRY routing.
  by railgeekteen
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:18 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:24 pm Not sure that Amtrak has ever had a STL-MEM line but I think that has potential too.
They did and it flopped.

The two car train, a Dome-Coach and a Food Service operated over the SRY rather thann the traditional IC. It was then joined with the City at Carbondale.

Can't remember off the top of my head the dates, but it was pre-Superliner. Maybe WGC era considering the SRY routing.
Yes, but I don't think they ever ran a train between the two via Cape Girardeau. What was the last train to use that route?
  by David Benton
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:18 pm
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:24 pm Not sure that Amtrak has ever had a STL-MEM line but I think that has potential too.
They did and it flopped.

The two car train, a Dome-Coach and a Food Service operated over the SRY rather thann the traditional IC. It was then joined with the City at Carbondale.

Can't remember off the top of my head the dates, but it was pre-Superliner. Maybe WGC era considering the SRY routing.
It was still running in the late eighties. i remember it as a option when i was travelling.
  by John_Perkowski
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 1:24 pm KCY-TOP-WIC-OKC comes to mind; I think it could stand alone rather than as a new Lone Star. Not sure that Amtrak has ever had a STL-MEM line but I think that has potential too.
Ten years ago, at railforum, I was deeply involved in a debate over extending the Heartland Flyer to Kansas City. It was in the time when President Obama’s HSR funding was in its first round. I had some key points in that debate...
- Kansas’ grant app was for 79MPH service. The call for apps defined the minimum speed for an app was 110MPH. (Needless to say, Kansas’ app didn’t get past the GS-14 screener)
- The proposal bypassed Wichita.
- The streamliner era rate of advance was 13hrs 30 minutes for Dallas Union Station to Kansas City Union Station with the Texas Chief (ROA 43.6 MPH) and 14 hrs 25 minutes with the Ranger (ROA 40.9 MPH) . Today, on I-35, I can, with two 15 minute gas stops and a 30 minute lunch stop, make it in 8 hrs, 46 minutes, at ROA 62MPH. If Amtrak is to compete, it must at least equal the ROA.

- One A Day Service is a vitamin, not a transportation solution. There are 22 daily nonstops MCI to Dallas. Even service air service Wichita to Dallas is faster than the streamliner era time of 7 hours 25 minutes. If Amtrak wants to compete Dallas to Kansas City, it must be part of the solution. That means more than pro forma one a day service.

- Finally, there must be political support, and advocates must build it. In the 2008 debacle, the advocates in Kansas had the State Senate in the bag, but didn’t put a full court press on to win the House. When Sam Brownback and the Tea Party won the Governorship in 2010, that was all she wrote for this proposal, and ids been deader than the dodo since.
  by GWoodle
 
The River Cities was a passenger train operated by Amtrak from 1984 to 1993 between Kansas City, Missouri, and New Orleans, Louisiana, via St. Louis, Missouri. It operated as a section of the City of New Orleans and the Mules.

The two trains split in Carbondale, Illinois, with the River Cities continuing 117 miles (188 km) to St. Louis, where it joined with a Kansas City Mule. For southbound trains the procedure was reversed; the River Cities would split from a St. Louis Mule and proceed to Carbondale, where it joined with the City of New Orleans for the journey to New Orleans. Before the Amtrak era, the City of New Orleans and its nighttime companion, the Panama Limited, had operated St. Louis sections that split in Carbondale.

Amtrak ended the service on November 4, 1993, as part of national cost-cutting measures, and instituted Thruway Motorcoach service between St. Louis and Centralia, Illinois. The only city to permanently lose service was Belleville, Illinois.[1][2]

It appears there is no "St Louis Southern" in the modern era. There was a "St Louis Southeastern" that the L&N bought to connect St Louis with Evansville. The L&N provided a St Louis connection to their Atlanta or New Orleans trains.
Last edited by GWoodle on Sun Sep 27, 2020 1:08 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by John_Perkowski
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sun Sep 27, 2020 11:45 am
Relevant Amtrak/RPA presentation:
https://www.railpassengers.org/site/ass ... ridors.pdf
Terminate the Flyer at Newton. A midnight cross platform solution was idiotic a decade ago, it’s idiotic today, and it will be idiotic for years to come.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
railgeekteen wrote: Sat Sep 26, 2020 3:32 pm .... I don't think they ever ran a train between the two via Cape Girardeau. What was the last train to use that route?
Checking my Guides, as of Nov '64 SLSF (Frisco) 807-8 - Sunnyland - was Coach only Daylight schedule StL-Memphis. As of March '69, it was gone.

Everything was gone on the Frisco prior to A-Day.
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