• 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 Arborwayfan
 
bdawe wrote: Fri May 08, 2020 12:18 am Was the ridership low on NEC sleepers, or was the issue that you had a sleeper car that wasn't earning money during the day that could be assigned to a LD train that would? As long as Amtrak could more profitably assign sleepers to all-day running long hauls you have higher utilization than on night-only trains, I would presume
I have wondered about this for quite a while. The Night Owl did not carry a diner; it left Boston well after dinner time. I don't know if it came with some kind of boxed breakfast. But in any case food would not have been a major expense if it was an expense at all; based on all we hear about the huge cost of feeding sleeping car passengers, I would have thought that sleepers without food would have an advantage.
  by jp1822
 
Amtrak was charging for a Viewliner Roomette, Washington DC to Boston, as much as it was on the Lake Shore Limited from NYC to Chicago. And they were getting that price and the sleeper was running pretty full, with only a sleeping car attendant to worry about staffing. You got an evening snack delivered by the SCA, and in-room breakfast brought by the SCA attendant in the morning, or pickup in the adjacent Cafe/Lounge Car. For the NEC, it was a LOT cheaper to put a sleeper on it, than to maintain all the sleeper car service and perks on say the Lake Shore Limited (e.g. covering the food and beverage costs for a sleeper patron and F&B staff etc.). There's MANY corridors that Amtrak could have evening pickup and early morning arrivals at. The NEC sleeper car service only requires TWO VIewliner sleepers. I don't support any expansion of service during COVID-19, but in the new normal afterwards, everything is likely fair game.
  by west point
 
O & D originations and detraining. Together Usually gives total passenger counts
  by Arborwayfan
 
I'm all for saying "take the sleepers some eastern LD route and put 2 or 3 each of the Boston-Washington overnight trains." Did they instead take them off the Night Owl and save them for the LD trains because of a feeling that the LD trains had to have sleepers? I'd be interested to see the accounting under which those trains are better off with sleepers than without them. Most passengers are in coach, anyway.
  by gokeefe
 
We may never know "why" but eliminating the sleeper cars on the Night Owl could have been to provide additional spares for protect equipment on the other services. The Viewliner Is had their issues and the single level services had their own performance issues as well.

I think it is fair to say that Amtrak bringing NEC sleeper service back before anywhere else is a really strong signal that the historic financial performance was very good.
  by Jeff Smith
 
George, I'm fairly certain that's the reason. I'm not certain how long heritage sleepers lasted; that could have played a part in it as well.
  by David Benton
 
I think the exception for the flush to track toilets ran out. This train and the three rivets were the last using heritage sleepers.
  by Greg Moore
 
There is apparently another operational reason Amtrak would prefer sleeps on 66/67/69 - Right now 448/449 ends up with a single sleeper in BOS, which means there's no real way to provide a protect. By having at least two trains that run out of Boston that have a Viewliner, if you do end up with a protect there, you're protecting two trains not one, or if need be you can cancel one and move it to the other train, etc.

But that said, I'm all for bringing back this sleeper.

(of course if I had my druthers, I'd prefer something that split/joined in NYP. Say take 66 and put a sleeper at either end, when at NYP break the train and run it north to Albany and the other end East to Boston.
  by west point
 
If Congress really wants to expand Amtrak both regionally and nationally it will have to come up with the necessary funds. The NEC is understood as to what needs there as Gateway, B & P tunnel bores, Long bridge additional 2 tracks and expansion of tracks to Richmond. Also various station improvements; Eliminate almost all draw bridges

Nationally on the freight RRs the proposed on time parameters will have consultations between FRA, Amtrak, and host RRs to determine choke points and how to finance mitigations. IMHO one item is the making of much more two main track or more locations where it is just one main track at present. When NC DOT made Charlotte - Greensboro 2 MT Crescent almost always makes up time. For only present routes there are locations where it is evident are:
1. Complete 2 Main Track (MT) New Haven - Springfield.
2. 2 MT or more + sidings WASH - Richmond.
3. 2 MT Richmond - Selma, NC
4. All 2 MT Selma - Greensborough
5. Either 2 MT or if not too delaying 10 mile single tracks then 10 mile sidings Selma - Jacksonville
6. Additional sidings Jacksonville - Deltona, Fl ( end of Sun Rail )
7. Expand Sun Rail from Sanford to Daytona with 2 MT.
8. 2 MT Alexandria - Lynchburg, Va.
9. More sidings as #5 Lynchburg - ATL with some 40 -50 mile 2 MT.
10. 3 MT Albany ( HOFFFMANS ) - Buffalo
11. 2 MT + sidings Buffalo - Toledo
12. 2 MT Detroit - South of the lake track.
13. 2 MT + sidings Toledo to all new track south of the lake with flyovers around CHI
14. New alignments for CHI - IND - Cincinnati with 10 2 MT and 10 single tracks.
15. 2 MT 110 MPH CHI - Memphis
16. 2 MT 110 MPH CHI - STL
17. Additional sidings CHI - Milwaukee
18 Restoration f 2 MT and sidings MKE - MSP
19. Completion of CN Bridge replacement over Bonnie Carrie spillway
20. Restoration of CNO route south of Memphis.
21. Rebuilding of train routes in New Orleans to eliminate all draw bridges on routes
22. More sidings on Eagle route and 2 MT FtWorth - San Antonia
23. Phoenix - Yuma restored with 2 MT Yuma - LAX
24. Passenger only track Victorville - SoCal
25. Improvements of Coast line LAX - San Diego with more sidings
26. 2 MT San Diego - Emeryville
27. High bridge at San Susin draw bridge
28. 2MT and elimination of slow sections Portland - Seattle. more sidings Tacoma - Seattle

Not mentioned on the above but many 2 MT sections will require eliminating many curves and slow sections. . 80 or 90 MPH tracks consistently will allow some speed up but due to following slower freights schedules cannot be increased too much on routes that Amtrak has to follow those freights until passing locations can be utilized. Example On a 300 mile run if Amtrak had to meet 2 freights and pass 2 freights about 40 minutes would be lost. But if the same number is 10 each way traveling at higher than freight speeds becomes very difficult. One upgrade some freight RRs will need to do is to shorten dispatcher districts so more attention can be given to Amtrak. That is especially true when there are several Amtrak trains.
  by eolesen
 
west point wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 11:23 pm 23. Phoenix - Yuma restored with 2 MT Yuma - LAX
Been a while since I looked, but it's already almost all double track from Yuma to LA, with only a few outstanding sections left to be filled in. The biggest challenge is the Colorado River bridge.

Phoenix-Wellington is an expensive restoration with little payback potential, and might not save all that much time when you consider the twists and turns that Picacho to Phoenix has to make along the way thru Mesa and Tempe. Might be better to extend light rail to Maricopa or possibly move the station from Maricopa east to wherever the fabled Tucson-Phoenix commuter service splits away from the Sunset Route i.e. Casa Grande or Picacho.
  by bostontrainguy
 
Greg Moore wrote: Tue May 12, 2020 6:20 pm(of course if I had my druthers, I'd prefer something that split/joined in NYP. Say take 66 and put a sleeper at either end, when at NYP break the train and run it north to Albany and the other end East to Boston.
How about three sleepers? One to Albany, one to Boston via Springfield/Worcester (more population than Shoreline) and one split off at Springfield heading north to Montreal.

The Night Owl could become one hell of an overnight hotel train!
  by Pensyfan19
 
What about double track for all of Amtrak's system (with some exceptions where it is not possible, such as the side of a cliff on the CZ), overnight services for main corridors, and new routes which can connect to other trains? That's basically the goal for maximum service on a railroad for the most part.
  by Tadman
 
Double track is not necessarily a good use of funds. It costs a lot to lay and a lot to maintain. As signal systems advance, the busiest mains have gone from 4 to 3 to 2 tracks. The same trend has seen average mains go from 2 to 1 track with generous passing sidings.

Sometimes double track just isn't necessary on a route. Consider the route to Grand Rapids or Detroit. There is and probably never will be enough trains to necessitate double track on either route, despite the fact that the Detroit line is a rising star in the system.

I would much rather see that money used to create passing sidings at good locations and perhaps some key stations.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
Double track should be used along routes that have very strong ridership especially if their are future trends for them to warrant more trains down the road. For example, it would be great if the entire Springfield Line was double tracked. That's what is causing not enough trains to operate between New Haven and Springfield. Much of the double track is between Mill River Interlocking in New Haven and Parkville in Hartford, a little less than a mile from the Hartford Station. Sadly, the double track at Hartford Station will have to wait until the new station is built in a trench as part of the highway project in Downtown Hartford. Maybe within five years from now, we'll see the double track on the Springfield Line be extended to where the Connecticut River Bridge is on the east side. It would be great to have the second track go over the Connecticut River bridge on the SPG Line.

I don't really know if you need all double track along routes like between CHI and Grand Rapids. That's not a very friendly schedule and people who live in Grand Rapids and many of the towns along the routes to there probably use other routes. In Grand Rapids, people probably will drive to Kalamazoo for some additional and faster train service. The train ride on the Pere Marquette is slower than driving from Grand Rapids to Chicago and back.
  by Pensyfan19
 
njt/mnrrbuff wrote: Thu May 14, 2020 1:00 pm Double track should be used along routes that have very strong ridership especially if their are future trends for them to warrant more trains down the road. For example, it would be great if the entire Springfield Line was double tracked. That's what is causing not enough trains to operate between New Haven and Springfield. Much of the double track is between Mill River Interlocking in New Haven and Parkville in Hartford, a little less than a mile from the Hartford Station. Sadly, the double track at Hartford Station will have to wait until the new station is built in a trench as part of the highway project in Downtown Hartford. Maybe within five years from now, we'll see the double track on the Springfield Line be extended to where the Connecticut River Bridge is on the east side. It would be great to have the second track go over the Connecticut River bridge on the SPG Line.

I don't really know if you need all double track along routes like between CHI and Grand Rapids. That's not a very friendly schedule and people who live in Grand Rapids and many of the towns along the routes to there probably use other routes. In Grand Rapids, people probably will drive to Kalamazoo for some additional and faster train service. The train ride on the Pere Marquette is slower than driving from Grand Rapids to Chicago and back.
I agree. Not to mention, if certain routes are double tracked, that would allow for smoother flow of traffic, especially where certain lines (such as the LD routes) are delayed by slow freights. Instead of suing the freight railroads for existing, amtrak should build another track where possible, especially in busy corridors such as the Midwest, where certain area sink have one or two tracks where there used to be 4! (Didn't the Sprinfield line use to have 3 tracks???)
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