kmillard wrote:Keeping in mind that this service disappeared 3 decades ago, there is a great deal of infrastructure that needs to be rebuilt. Just as important is the current equipment shortage.
From this study, it appears this revived "North Coast Mainstreeter" would perform quite admirably especially in comparison to other Amtrak LD trains with roughly 1000 riders a day (combined) and a higher than average farebox recovery of 58% to 52%. In fact, with 153 passenger miles per train mile, thats a superior projection to a restored Sunset between New Orleans and Orlando or a restored Pioneer. I just don't get why it would take Amtrak 4 to 5 YEARS from the time funding is available to add a single train. To me that's just godawful inefficiency and ineptitude.
I think it's time to open up bidding for service contracts to other service providers such as Royal Caribbean or Virgin and make this competitive rather than just let Amtrak assume that they get to run this service by default. If they have to be the horses @a$$e$ in the transport industry and can't get things done efficiently, then it's high time we find someone who will.
In the end, no "cruise ship line" could be any more effective than Amtrak given the labor considerations. You just can't operate passenger trains with third world labor at slave wages. I also don't think that any other transportation company could manage a federally funded equipment order any more quickly than Amtrak. Intercity railroad passenger equipment orders are so rare in North America, that 10 or 15 years can go by between major production runs. In contrast, there is a continuous order stream for airliners and cruise ships, so the lead times aren't as long.