• 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 CarterB
 
The way things are going right now............the whole thing may be "Defunct" soon./
  by scratchyX1
 
mtuandrew wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 4:03 pm
Arborwayfan wrote: Thu Oct 01, 2020 12:39 pm
I wonder what a train from BAL (or WAS) to Hancock MD, with connecting coach to Berkley Springs, stopping at Harper;'s Ferry and Martinsburg could do?
It would be a good use of existing infrastructure and easy to advertise in existing busy stations.
Wouldn’t that just be an extra stop on the Capitol Limited? Seems scenic and like a decent tourist destination, if CSX would allow a new platform (or use of the heritage depot!) in their yards across the river from Hancock.
I don’t think service directly west from Baltimore will happen though.
The Old Main Line is way to slow for passenger service, Commuter buses on US 70 would always be much faster.
I was talking about NEC service. Realistically, a cross platform transfer from MARC/Amtrak NEC to this Potomac train at union station in DC would be much faster than running from Baltimore.
It is short enough that it could be state corridor service, though with West Virginia balking at a few million for MARC service, I don't know if they would pay for this service.
OTOH, it's high profit, and outside oriented business.
https://www.coalvalleynews.com/news/stu ... 445f0.html
  by STrRedWolf
 
scratchyX1 wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:27 am The Old Main Line is way to slow for passenger service, Commuter buses on US 70 would always be much faster.
There goes my old "Baltimore to Fredrick" idea...
I was talking about NEC service. Realistically, a cross platform transfer from MARC/Amtrak NEC to this Potomac train at union station in DC would be much faster than running from Baltimore.
It is short enough that it could be state corridor service, though with West Virginia balking at a few million for MARC service, I don't know if they would pay for this service.
OTOH, it's high profit, and outside oriented business.
https://www.coalvalleynews.com/news/stu ... 445f0.html
Definitely Amtrak, given WV difficulties in the past. You would need a station at the CSX yard/airport and a bus shuttle, because it's across the river.
  by Literalman
 
I too would like to ride Washington-Harrisburg via the Port Road. Somebody mentioned the route's heyday. I'm not sure it had one. Before Amtrak, I think the Baltimore-Harrisburg trains went via York, not the Port Road. I might be wrong. The trains via York might have been going to Buffalo. But I've traveled on Amtrak between Washington and Harrisburg via Philadelphia. I would like the Port Road better, I think.

Someone asked, "Why would someone who isn't a railfan think that one train a day between places two or three hours apart with decent roads would be better than no train?" OK, I am a railfan, but I am also car-free by choice (and I couldn't afford a car even if I wanted one). Maybe things are better out West, but my experience with about 45 years of driving in the Northeast and Virginia is that if you obey the traffic laws, particularly if you don't speed, you will be honked at, hollered at, cursed at, and tailgated, with drivers flashing high beams at you and other punishment. This is just for driving 55 in the right-hand lane. I had enough of that. So if I had to drive somewhere, I wouldn't go. Also, as people get older, a lot of them shouldn't drive, but I've seen people keep driving even when they are too old (a clue is repeated minor scrapes and bumps in parking lots). Sometimes they're only in their 60s when they begin repeatedly causing damage. Someday I should not be driving either. At 67 I'm already not as sharp as I used to be and have slower reaction times. So for people who won't or shouldn't drive, "one train a day between places two or three hours apart with decent roads would be better than no train."

What about buses? A couple of years ago I went by Greyhound to Roanoke (more than 2 or 3 hours). The train would have gotten me there in late evening. It was OK. I came back on the train. Two months before that, I needed to be in Fredericksburg, Va., at midday. The train schedules didn't fit, so I took Greyhound. It was raining, and every time the bus went around a curve, water came through the ceiling. (I know that some trains leak too. In my years of commuting on VRE, I was on some trains that had water dripping inside.) But buses can be a hassle. In Charlottesville a few years ago, getting a bus to Fredericksburg, bus passengers who already had tickets were told that we had to sign in at the desk and that a federal law required passengers to have a photo ID, with a $500 fine if you didn't have one. At Fredericksburg, we were told that you could not use a credit card to buy a ticket for someone else if you yourself were not making the trip too. I was not given these requirements on any other bus trips in Virginia, which makes it feel like random hassles were being inflicted on bus passengers.

So to end this rant, I'll say this: Not everybody drives; not everybody wants to or should drive. Buses can be so bad that you think more than twice before using them again, although that can happen with trains too. And I would like to ride the Port Road between Washington and Harrisburg. :grinning:
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Literalman wrote: Sun Oct 04, 2020 7:13 pm So to end this rant, I'll say this: Not everybody drives; not everybody wants to or should drive. ........And I would like to ride the Port Road between Washington and Harrisburg.
Mr. Literail, I'm sorry you missed on the C&PD, or Port Road. In terms of scenery, it's "right up there" with "The Adirondack" (Hudson-Lake Champlain).

Port Road, at least in modern times was sn Amtrak innovation. The Act's Basic System mandated both Wash-Chi and Wash-KC routes, but the historical route of the Liberty Limited was the Northern Central from Baltimore, through York, thence to Harrisburg had been chopped up by a hurricane, and PC had no reason to rebuild it - let alone the loot.

But that does not mske the Port Road, with its 30-40 speeds, along with no one along the way, any kind of potential Cortidor. By '74, Amtrak had "had it" with that routing and rerouted via Philly and the Main Line.

Also sorry to learn you do not feel comfortable "behind the wheel" as a 67yo. I'm 79, and my license is up next year. So who knows what will happen then. I agree little "tap taps" happen to Seniors' autos. In the case of my 2yo buggy, my passenger front rim got chopped up at a fast food drive-through. $800 to replace, but it just will wait until COVID is history, and I can again park, go inside to order, and eat at one of their tables that they can bus when I'm done.
  by ExCon90
 
Literalman, the Northern Central route via York is what I was referring to when I used the word heyday; all passenger trains from Harrisburg to Baltimore went that way. The Port Road is indeed one of the most scenic routes in the East, and unfortunately the curves necessitated by the topography give you plenty of time to enjoy it, putting it out of the running , so to speak, as a corridor.
  by RRspatch
 
In regard to Baltimore to Harrisburg service Amtrak continued to operate via the Port Road until October 1979. I rode the last eastbound National Limited between Harrisburg and Capital Beltway station.

Now as far as the line via York is concerned this was the main PRR passenger route between Baltimore and Harrisburg. Freight traffic out of Bay View Yard (Baltimore) of course went via the Port Road. Interestingly enough Amtrak decided upon startup to route it's trains via the Port Road. This allowed for an all electric route via Perryville (Port Road) and eliminated having to change directions and power at Baltimore. In the PRR days passengers got to ride backwards between Washington and Baltimore. What has always surprised me was that the PRR didn't use the all electric routing via the Port Road. Of course in August of 1972 hurricane Agnes put an end to the route via York.

One last thing, up thread someone mentioned the interstate between Baltimore and Harrisburg as being I-81. The correct number is I-83. I drove that dang highway to work almost everyday in the early 80's when I lived in Cockysville and worked at Penn Station "B" office.
  by ExCon90
 
I can never remember whether it's 81 or 83, never having had to drive it ...
I think York was the reason for using the Northern Central. The Port Road was built later (Confederate troops harassed the NC during the Civil War), and until 1980, discontinuing the York routing would not have been permitted.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
RRspatch wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:00 am In regard to Baltimore to Harrisburg service Amtrak continued to operate via the Port Road until October 1979. I rode the last eastbound National Limited between Harrisburg and Capital Beltway station.
Stand corrected and otherwise defer to Mr. Spatch on that point.
RRspatch wrote: Mon Oct 05, 2020 12:00 am Of course in August of 1972 hurricane Agnes put an end to the route via York.
I did get to ride the Northern Central Hbg to Bal during '66 while in Service. As I recall, the consist comprised the refurbished P-70's, with seats stripped from the 44 seat P-85's as they were scrapped and tinted windows, from the very short lived Blue Diamond (there's my "one that got away"; stationed at Dover 65-67, it was the "ride it next break...ride it next break"...well "until it wasn't").
  by scratchyX1
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 6:40 pm
scratchyX1 wrote: Fri Oct 02, 2020 11:27 am The Old Main Line is way to slow for passenger service, Commuter buses on US 70 would always be much faster.
There goes my old "Baltimore to Fredrick" idea...

It's not a very fast route, and not enough traffic between the two cities to warrant it.
Now, a direct route from frederick to gaithersburg area roughly following 270, possibly with third track to the last red line station, would get a lot of use. But that would be MARC/MTA, not amtrak
I

was talking about NEC service. Realistically, a cross platform transfer from MARC/Amtrak NEC to this Potomac train at union station in DC would be much faster than running from Baltimore.
It is short enough that it could be state corridor service, though with West Virginia balking at a few million for MARC service, I don't know if they would pay for this service.
OTOH, it's high profit, and outside oriented business.
https://www.coalvalleynews.com/news/stu ... 445f0.html
Definitely Amtrak, given WV difficulties in the past. You would need a station at the CSX yard/airport and a bus shuttle, because it's across the river.
It's the western maryland that was across the river in maryland, So there would need to be a station in Hancock WV.
There would be enough room in the yard there, for a layover track.
I wonder if that would be a case where the companies in the towns served contract to amtrak directly.
  by Literalman
 
I forgot to mention Harper's Ferry: I think that every time the Virginia Assn. of Railway Patrons had a display at a public event (Manassas Railway Festival, Ashland Train Day, etc.) we were asked about day trips to Harper's Ferry. The public interest is there, but I don't think CSX would allow it, even if MARC were interested in operating it. Maybe an excursion from Washington to Harper's Ferry someday would be an indication of how many people would ride.
  by STrRedWolf
 
Literalman wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 6:07 pm I forgot to mention Harper's Ferry: I think that every time the Virginia Assn. of Railway Patrons had a display at a public event (Manassas Railway Festival, Ashland Train Day, etc.) we were asked about day trips to Harper's Ferry. The public interest is there, but I don't think CSX would allow it, even if MARC were interested in operating it. Maybe an excursion from Washington to Harper's Ferry someday would be an indication of how many people would ride.
From Virginia (Richmond) to Harper's Ferry?

MARC II equipment, yes. MARC's willing to lease it for an excursion, and can coordinate w/CSX and Bombardier (who operate that route) to get up to Harper's Ferry and Martinsburg. The sticking point is CSX, and depending on if it runs on Amtrak's south-of-DC NEC or VRE territory, maybe involve VRE. Ether way, it'll be expensive.
  by STrRedWolf
 
mtuandrew wrote: Sun Oct 11, 2020 9:16 pm Keep in mind we are talking Amtrak restoration, not MARC or VRE excursions.
I think the idea here is to use MARC/VRE to convince Amtrak and other powers-that-be that such a service is viable.

Heh... and to think I'm working on routing another "excursion" for another novel... but that's a separate topic.
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