• 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 WashingtonPark
 
Suburban Station wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:47 am
rcthompson04 wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:15 pm What about some relatively short corridors like Scranton to NYP and Reading to NYP via the Lehigh Valley?
I think scranton would be an extension of an njt route but reading would make a lot of sense as a Keystone type route. if it went to harrisburg from reading you could even use the same facilities though that might be a steeper ask than just reading.
Haven't they been working on this for the past 30 years?
  by Ridgefielder
 
WashingtonPark wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 1:38 pm
Suburban Station wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 8:47 am
rcthompson04 wrote: Wed Dec 11, 2019 9:15 pm What about some relatively short corridors like Scranton to NYP and Reading to NYP via the Lehigh Valley?
I think scranton would be an extension of an njt route but reading would make a lot of sense as a Keystone type route. if it went to harrisburg from reading you could even use the same facilities though that might be a steeper ask than just reading.
Haven't they been working on this for the past 30 years?
Indeed. There's actually a 358-page thread on it over on the New Jersey Transit board. It would involve restoring service on the Lackawanna Cut-Off between Port Morris, NJ and Slateford, PA.
  by ryanch
 
In the context of Reading/Harrisburg, it's worth considering that Amtrak is interested in running a proposed Boston-western Mass. corridor, and has said if they did so, they would bring the train west and terminate at Albany.

I also think in this Amtrak Expansion Plan thread, it's worth outlining two New England expansions I hadn't been aware of:
- the Valley Flyer, which is already running from Hartford, Connecticut through western Mass;
- the Berkshire Flyer, which will apparently make 1 round trip / week NYC-Albany-Pittsfield, MA, starting next summer.

The latter is really interesting to me, since I had suggested a tourist-centered extension of the Hiawatha service, to bring people to the Wisconsin Dells area. I hadn't realized that Amtrak might consider a Friday one-way/Sunday return style service. That would vastly reduce the cost of my proposal, and maybe the operational impact on the host railroad; as well as the risks of using train sets at close to the margins of their availability.
  by gokeefe
 
It "helps" (aka is required) that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is willing to pay for it ... Wisconsin could just as well pay for a train to Duluth if they so desired ...
  by Ridgefielder
 
ryanch wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:20 pm The latter is really interesting to me, since I had suggested a tourist-centered extension of the Hiawatha service, to bring people to the Wisconsin Dells area. I hadn't realized that Amtrak might consider a Friday one-way/Sunday return style service. That would vastly reduce the cost of my proposal, and maybe the operational impact on the host railroad; as well as the risks of using train sets at close to the margins of their availability.
The New York area is a bit of an outlier for things like this. It's really the only place in this country with a large concentration of affluent people who don't own cars. Hence the continued existence of things like the LIRR Cannonball to the Hamptons, the New York - Martha's Vineyard boats, etc. It's also the reason seasonal Friday/Sunday service to the Berkshires (via the New Haven's Berkshire Route through Danbury and Canaan) lasted right up to A Day in 1971.
Last edited by Ridgefielder on Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by ryanch
 
Sure. But as I just posted in the other thread, what's interesting to me is that the cost there is just $240,000, for 20 weekends of a single round trip, at 3.5 hours one-way. (I'd have to go back to sources to confirm -- I think it's actually 20 weekends x 2 years = 40 weekends.)

(The Berkshire plan implies either they're dead-heading back or paying crew to stay in the Berkshires. Does anyone know which?)

A Hiawatha extension is only an extra 2 hours, of equipment that's already running and staffed. Maybe it wouldn't be any cheaper, but it seems plausible that it might not be more expensive.

Wisconsin has a few million in stranded appropriations for additional Hiawatha runs that Illinois is blocking (on behalf of the Glenview NIMBYs). If they could run a trial Dells train for $240,000, they might find a way to do it.

The Berkshire Flyer seems to have popped largely because of one dude who lived in NYC and had a house near Pittsfield, who got in touch with a single rail-friendly new legislator. it makes me think it might be worth asking around.

I do get that NY is an outlier. And that may be the final word here. But if there's anywhere that has close to as many rail-aware vacationers, it's Chicago. We have fewer carless wealthy folks. But we have a fair number of families where one parent can get away early with the kids, but the 2nd parent can't.

There are lots of reasons for caution, and at this point, the Berkshire model hasn't even begun running, let alone proving itself successful.

Still, i think the number of new expansions, and the sense of experimentation behind it, is very interesting. If they succeed, many new horizons open up.
  by exvalley
 
Ridgefielder wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:32 pm The New York area is a bit of an outlier for things like this. It's really the only place in this country with a large concentration of affluent people who don't own cars. Hence the continued existence of things like .... the New York - Martha's Vineyard boats, etc.
The Martha's Vineyard service has much more to do with the geography of Martha's Vineyard than car ownership in New York. If car ownership was the issue, the ferries would be servicing Cape Cod and the Jersey Shore since many more New Yorkers vacation there than on Martha's Vineyard.

Also, do affluent people not own cars in New York - or is it much more middle class and lower? My hunch is that the rail service to the Hamptons that you described is popular because of traffic congestion rather than because people don't own cars. Many people on the train probably have cars kept in the Hamptons. The drive from Manhattan to the Hamptons in the summer can be absolutely atrocious.
  by mtuandrew
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:24 pm It "helps" (aka is required) that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is willing to pay for it ... Wisconsin could just as well pay for a train to Duluth if they so desired ...
Guessing you mean (Wisconsin) Dells, George. Unlikely that Wisconsin would fund its own train to Duluth, MN/Superior, WI direct from Milwaukee, especially with Minnesota working on its own MSP-Duluth service. A direct service skipping MSP would also necessitate CN track, and that seems even less likely.

As for weekend excursion trains in Wisconsin, how about a Dells train in the summer and a Green Bay (football) train in the fall & winter? The latter could easily be the seed for permanent MKE-GBY service.
  by ryanch
 
Its the existence of track and station that makes expansion simpler and less expensive. Yes Green Bay is an interesting idea, but a lot more would have to be done to send a train there.
  by bostontrainguy
 
ryanch wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:40 pm There are lots of reasons for caution, and at this point, the Berkshire model hasn't even begun running, let alone proving itself successful.

Still, i think the number of new expansions, and the sense of experimentation behind it, is very interesting. If they succeed, many new horizons open up.
This weekend model has been done successfully before and it also was done in Massachusetts,

Amtrak launched the Cape Codder on July 3, 1986. The original schedule included four trains weekly: trains from New York to Hyannis on Friday evening (#272) and Saturday morning (#270), and trains from Hyannis to New York on Saturday (#271) and Sunday afternoon (#273).
  by Rockingham Racer
 
gokeefe wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:24 pm It "helps" (aka is required) that the Commonwealth of Massachusetts is willing to pay for it ... Wisconsin could just as well pay for a train to Duluth if they so desired ...
That would be Minnesota, I think. But I get your point.
  by Rockingham Racer
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:35 pm
ryanch wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 2:40 pm There are lots of reasons for caution, and at this point, the Berkshire model hasn't even begun running, let alone proving itself successful.

Still, i think the number of new expansions, and the sense of experimentation behind it, is very interesting. If they succeed, many new horizons open up.
This weekend model has been done successfully before and it also was done in Massachusetts,

Amtrak launched the Cape Codder on July 3, 1986. The original schedule included four trains weekly: trains from New York to Hyannis on Friday evening (#272) and Saturday morning (#270), and trains from Hyannis to New York on Saturday (#271) and Sunday afternoon (#273).
Why did it not continue?
  by mtuandrew
 
ryanch wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 9:58 pm Its the existence of track and station that makes expansion simpler and less expensive. Yes Green Bay is an interesting idea, but a lot more would have to be done to send a train there.
Very true regarding the station platforms, especially for stops between Green Bay and Milwaukee, but the track is there at least. Unfortunately it’s owned by CN which has proven to be a somewhat frustrating landlord for Amtrak (see the stalled Blackhawk to Dubuque.)
  by bostontrainguy
 
Rockingham Racer wrote: Fri Dec 13, 2019 5:39 am
bostontrainguy wrote: Thu Dec 12, 2019 11:35 pm
Amtrak launched the Cape Codder on July 3, 1986. The original schedule included four trains weekly: trains from New York to Hyannis on Friday evening (#272) and Saturday morning (#270), and trains from Hyannis to New York on Saturday (#271) and Sunday afternoon (#273).
Why did it not continue?
It did last 10 years.

This is from Wikipedia:

Amtrak did not resume the Cape Codder for the 1997 season. The limited schedule, coupled with the fact that passengers found it difficult to navigate the Cape without an automobile, discouraged potential passengers. The service carried just 1,200 passengers in 1996, representing a 50% drop from 1995.

I do believe things have changed since 1996. WIth the CapeFlyer now running successfully, there are many transportation options once you get to the Cape.
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