• Moving to one terminal per big city - wise?

  • 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 STrRedWolf
 
Jeff Smith wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 11:37 am Good points, but I'd say that when I lived in Hartford, the Regionals I rode were fairly empty, with most of the disembarkations at Hartford. I don't see much of a market for Philly to Springfield. DC, maybe. And it wouldn't be a three-seat ride, just two, from points south of NYC/NYP. Transfer at Stamford or New Haven cross-platform. Remember, CT wants to shrink the time it takes to get to/from NYC from points east, and a Regional, with less stops than a commuter train, can do that from Springfield, whether its NYG or NYP. And NYG might be preferable.
New Haven to New York is roughly 2 hours. Add that to the 1h30m of the Hartford Line... 3h30. Same length as the Keystones. Do the Keystones swap staff in Philly by any chance? Because I can see extending the Hartford into NYG. If people want a single seat to DC, they can get on the Vermonter.
  by mtuandrew
 
Y’all are relentless :P

I don’t think you folks are going to convince me for New York or Chicago, though there’s something to be said for sending a few Springfield Northeast Regionals to Boston North (the other obvious choice.)

And we should talk about San Francisco as an alternate destination from Oakland.
  by Red Wing
 
I thought most trains from Springfield were cross platform transfers at New Haven.
  by west point
 
Red Wing wrote: Fri Aug 28, 2020 7:31 pm I thought most trains from Springfield were cross platform transfers at New Haven.
If there was service every 15 minutes then I might support split service but now no way. The transfer at New Haven works very well and if those from Albany need GCT the transfer on the wa to MNRR.
  by electricron
 
Wise or not, there are other things to look at than the ease of getting the trains to the train stations. Such as who owns the station, Chicago’s Union Station is owned by Amtrak, so of course it desires to send its’ trains there. New York’s Pennsylvania Station and Washington’s Union Station are also owned by Amtrak, guess where all its’ trains go?
America is not Europe where just about everything associated with surface transportation is owned by the national government or its’ agencies. In Europe even the freight trains and their steel tracks are owned by the national government, not so in America. Most of the steel rails in America are owned by private companies. The tracks are not ran specifically to get passenger trains to stations, they are ran to get freight trains to depots or freight yards. Any access to train stations is extra as far as the freight train companies are concerned. So it should not be surprising that passenger trains take unique routes to get to train stations.
  by justalurker66
 
A lot of the rail freight infrastructure is gone as carload and team freight has shifted over to intermodal and truck only transit. In Chicago the yards at the north end of the IC (north of Central Station) have been gone for decades - replaced by surface parking and now multi level parking structures and tall buildings. Only the commuter tracks remain (and the former IC commuter tracks are separate from the CN-IC). Central Station is long gone. All of the non-commuter rail stations east of the Chicago river ... and the freight stations they were next to are gone with the LaSalle St commuter station being the sole survivor. Most consolidation done long before Amtrak came to town. It isn't just the passenger rails that disappeared in these areas. Freight rails have also been removed and built over.

"Moving to one terminal per big city - Wise?" For Chicago I'd say yes - the passenger consolidations that occurred 50-100 years ago were a good decision. If not "wise" they were at least "necessary". Maintaining multiple stations designed for dozens of trains each per day for three in/three out services is not cost effective. That land has been sold and is now used for much more profitable uses. (The irrationality of moving back to multiple terminals has been exhaustively discussed in this thread.)

One of my pet peeves with railroads is the lack of new construction. It is rare for a railroad to plot a course between two cities, buy land or a right of way and build without there being an existing or abandoned rail line along that path. At best a railroad might realign a curve or move a few miles of tracks. But most lines current and proposed follow lines drawn in the 19th century or early 20th century - if a turn of that century tycoon didn't put a line on the map that survived 100 years we will probably not see a railroad today or in the future.

Improved connections between the rail that remains is the best that we can expect. In Chicago the east end of the SCAL is old example of a realignment. Tracks designed to bring northbound trains through Chinatown east to the now removed freight yards at the lakefront are now used to turn CN-IC trains west. Geography makes it difficult to add a curve north to CUS ... especially as it would be passenger only (six trains per day pre-COVID). So Amtrak lives with what they have. Relying on changes made by the freight railroads intended to improve freight service to provide any improvement to passenger service

I do not believe government ownership of every stick of rail would improve passenger service ... it certainly would not lead to decentralization of terminals. A quick look at railroad history shows what happens when railroads merge - operations become more centralized.
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