• Amtrak Expansion Plan

  • 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 troffey
 
gokeefe wrote: Tue Aug 20, 2019 4:37 pm Very true but that gets into host railroad issues very quickly unless every last inch of the right of way is separate from the freight carrier.
Sorry to be so late in replying to this, but how do you figure? MassDOT hasn't had any insurmountable problems in the past negotiating with either CSX or Pan Am...
  by Rockingham Racer
 
I didn't hear a big hew and cry from Amtrak trying to save Chicago to Indianapolis. Perfect of example of a corridor, and it's part of the Midwest High Speed Rail Initiative. Come to think of it: where were THEY in the fight to keep the train?
  by rcthompson04
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:56 pm I didn't hear a big hew and cry from Amtrak trying to save Chicago to Indianapolis. Perfect of example of a corridor, and it's part of the Midwest High Speed Rail Initiative. Come to think of it: where were THEY in the fight to keep the train?
Corridors are predicated on states caring. Indiana does not.
  by gokeefe
 
troffey wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:39 pmSorry to be so late in replying to this, but how do you figure? MassDOT hasn't had any insurmountable problems in the past negotiating with either CSX or Pan Am...
I'm afraid things with CSX are very difficult indeed. Especially west of Worcester. CSX simply won't accept more passenger trains on that corridor without tens if not hundreds of millions of dollars in improvements.
  by Arlington
 
rcthompson04 wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:21 pmCorridors are predicated on states caring. Indiana does not.
Corridors also need urban density and Rail Corridors need the bus to be hobbled by traffic or non-interstates (e.g. Lynchburg VA)

The Hoosier State had the worst farebox recovery of any short route from even before PRIIA, Lafayette is the only population center between CHI and IND, and the train couldn't really out-compete buses that can (and do) pick off Lafayette to Indy 7x and to Chicago 7x per day (and IND-CHI something like a dozen times)
  by gokeefe
 
To take this to the next level ... If any of Amtrak's successful corridors had to deal with the track conditions that the Hoosier State lived with they would be equally unsuccessful.

Amtrak's path to successful expansion follows the trail of capital spending.
  by NIMBYkiller
 
The Hoosier wasn't worth saving in its current form. Track speeds need to be greatly increased and the route extended to either Cincinnati or Dayton + Columbus, as I don't believe Indy is of sufficient size to generate enough ridership alone.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
It was a tough choice to make on Indiana's part about discontinuing the Hoosier State but at the end of the day, it was for the better. Being that that train was treated as a corridor train and not time competitive at all with driving, it was in the best interest to be discontinued. The money could be spent elsewhere. It sounds like the bus does a better job with moving people between Indianapolis, Lafayette, and Chicago. Plus many of the stops on the current Cardinal route in Northwest Indiana probably do not have as strong ridership for those people heading to Chicago as heading east. Many people who live in and around Rensellaer and Dyer probably drive to the South Shore at E. Chicago or one of the Metra Electric District IC Stations. In a few years, the South Shore will run a spur to Dyer and Munster and that would really help those people who live in Dyer a little further south. The main issue with the speeds is between Dyer and Chicago-it is extremely slow given the fact that you have too many railroads to travel over.
  by electricron
 
Arlington wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 4:53 pm Anderson nailed the # at 15. Your list omitted Capitol Limited and Palmetto
Thanks for the correction, I edited my earlier response to include them.

As for my own response to my earlier question, Amtrak should just connect regions with long distance trains. So let's identify the different regions within the first 48 states.
New England, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest (including Texas), Northwest, and California.
Then reflect where Amtrak has coach yards capable of hosting the long distance fleet.
(1) New York for New England
(2) Miami for Southeast
(3) Chicago for Midwest
(4) Seattle for Northwest
(5) Oakland for California
(6) Los Angeles for Southwest
Now let's connect these hosts.
Southwest via Texas, California, and Northwest connect to Chicago, that makes three trains.
Chicago connects to New England, four trains now
New England to Southeast makes five trains.
My sixth train would be the Auto Train.
The one existing fairly large coach yard Amtrak has access to not being served by my list of trains so far is in New Orleans. My seventh train would include it, but I'm having problems deciding where it should go, Midwest, Southeast, Southwest, or New England. The only direction I would eliminate off-hand is Northwest. If New Orleans was linked to New England, I would take a second look where the Southwest train went - maybe switching it to New Orleans instead of Chicago might be a better solution - because New England generates more than half Amtrak's ridership.
The only duplication of service is between New England and Southeast, cause by the unique Auto Train. Any other duplication of service should be done by state subsidized corridor trains - not going the entire way.

And I woould not change the existing 750 mile legal definition of a long distance train. That 750 miles is based upon average train speeds not greater than 50 mph. 750/50=15 hours. That's about as far as one should go with a 7 am departure and 10 pm arrival for the shorter state subsidized corridor trains.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
Arlington wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:49 pm
rcthompson04 wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:21 pmCorridors are predicated on states caring. Indiana does not.
Corridors also need urban density and Rail Corridors need the bus to be hobbled by traffic or non-interstates (e.g. Lynchburg VA)

The Hoosier State had the worst farebox recovery of any short route from even before PRIIA, Lafayette is the only population center between CHI and IND, and the train couldn't really out-compete buses that can (and do) pick off Lafayette to Indy 7x and to Chicago 7x per day (and IND-CHI something like a dozen times)
Not surprising, is it? One-a-day service isn't a corridor, and the time it took to go between the two cities was ridiculous. Calling times in Indiapolis? Terrible. So: corridors may be what the current leadership wants, but it will be at the mercy of a given state. There's the big charade concerning corridors. BTW, try leaving Chicago to anywhere east or south and it's a mess most of the day on the Dan Ryan Expressway and the Borman Expressway. Been there, done that, many times.
  by Philly Amtrak Fan
 
electricron wrote: Sat Sep 07, 2019 3:59 pm
If ten long distance trains continue on, which ten?
If I had to keep ten,

1) Silver Star
2) Silver Meteor
3) Auto Train
4) Lake Shore Limited
5) Capitol Limited (rerouted through Harrisburg, Philadelphia, Baltimore)
6) Crescent (extended to Houston, San Antonio)
7) Southwest Chief
8) California Zephyr
9) Texas Eagle (but only to San Antonio)
10) Coast Starlight

To me the toughest cut would be the CONO. If the Crescent can be extended to San Antonio to replace the Sunset Limited along that route, Minneapolis, Cincinnati, and Memphis would be the largest cities that would lose service. Hopefully they would get corridor service to replace it. You still have three trains from the East Coast to Florida, two trains from the East Coast to Chicago, and two trains from Chicago to California. If the Crescent is extended to San Antonio, San Antonio would lose service to California but would gain service to the East Coast (hopefully daily and on a better schedule).
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
The travel industry site, Skift, has an interview with Mr. Anderson posted at their site. While many aspects of Amtrak, this point is most relevan to the discussion at this topic:

https://skift.com/2019/09/07/skift-glob ... -the-rails

Fair Use:
Skift: You make a lot of your revenue on short-haul trains on the East Coast. But you said the longer routes are more challenging. What’s their future?

Anderson: There will always be a place for the experiential long-haul train, because Congress has told us clearly that that’s an important part of our mission. What we do is follow the law at Amtrak. The laws are clear that the national network is an important offering.

Probably today, we operate 15 of them, including Empire Builder across the northern western half of the U.S., the Zephyr from Chicago to San Francisco, the Southwest Chief, and the Coast Starlight. In an ideal state, we probably would operate somewhere between five to 10 and instead focus our efforts and resources on short-haul intercity transportation, because that’s where the demand indicators are for Amtrak.
I think Mr. Anderson is Kubler-Ross Phase Five - Acceptance - regarding the LD's. Nevermind they lose $$$ hand over fist and there is many a way that the rural "can't drives, won't flies" could have their transportation needs met more economically, assuming there is some "public necessity" to provide for such, they're not going away as easily as he envisioned.

While I've never been, and have a Niece who resides there and wants me to "come on down". I think Australia's present LD service is where I envision Amtrak going. Excluding the private sector "Luxotrains" (Gahn, Indian-Pacific), the only trsins that could be called intercity radiate from Sidney NSW to Brisbane, QLD and Melbourne. VIC. Over each of these 500 mile journeys, there are "two a day" - a Daylight and a Night Train. Both have Coaches, an F&B car, and one Sleeper, in which rooms are sold for day occupancy on the Daylight. The Sleeper is not inventoried in their reservation System, or at least is not available for on-line sale.

These trains operated by NSW Transport are hardly competitive with drive time to either, and the Brisbane Night Train features a 3AM arrival and vacate somewhere out in the Styx.

Considering there are flights on the airline of your choice all through the day, the rail service is not even in the ballpark. It only exists for the intermediate stops - and the pols.
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Sun Sep 08, 2019 7:19 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
When Mr. Anderson showed up, I think he quickly learned that the LD's lose big $$$$ and their public benefit was, at best, marginal.

Just like when an airline realizes there's no $$$ operating a route, it's gone. He figured since passenger transportation is no longer regulated with regard to rates and service, it would be an easy call to get rid of 'em. So let's start with the one, Chief, that was looking at big Ambucks to enable continuing, as the owning road, BNSF, was otherwise set to abandon the line (LAJ-ABQ) over which it was the only regular pperation.

I doubt if he ever expected the firestorm from "the Critters on The Hill".

The A-Day LD's were to be phased out in an orderly manner starting likely during 1976, as the Incorporators surely saw no hope for them, and the '79 Carter Cuts were step one. I highly doubt if they envisioned to what extent the LD's would become rolling pork barrels.

I think the future of the LD's are simply transportation, and as certain politicos leave the scene, one route or the other will find itself quite vulnerable. There will be no further LD specific equipment orders other than locomotives, and no expansion of the network.

I'll be gone before all of this happens, but I'll be "checking in from topside".
  by gokeefe
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:12 pmI think Mr. Anderson is Kubler-Ross Phase Five - Acceptance - regarding the LD's. Nevermind they lose $$$ hand over fist and there is many a way that the rural "can't drives, won't flies" could have their transportation needs met more economically, assuming there is some "public necessity" to provide for such, they're not going away as easily as he envisioned.
Mr. Norman,

I could not agree more. His references to statutory mission made it quite clear that he understands the permanent nature of the route structure. It's a telling capitulation on his part that says a lot for the durability of the famous 218+51+1 formula.

Anderson seems to believe that he can afford to lose this battle in order to win the war. I think he's right on this and wish him the best.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
gokeefe wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 2:15 pm
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sun Sep 08, 2019 1:12 pmI think Mr. Anderson is Kubler-Ross Phase Five - Acceptance - regarding the LD's. Nevermind they lose $$$ hand over fist and there is many a way that the rural "can't drives, won't flies" could have their transportation needs met more economically, assuming there is some "public necessity" to provide for such, they're not going away as easily as he envisioned.
Mr. Norman,

I could not agree more. His references to statutory mission made it quite clear that he understands the permanent nature of the route structure. It's a telling capitulation on his part that says a lot for the durability of the famous 218+51+1 formula.

Anderson seems to believe that he can afford to lose this battle in order to win the war. I think he's right on this and wish him the best.
You have to wonder what Stephen Gardner thinks, though. Many believe he's the power behind the throne.
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