prokowave wrote: ↑Sat Oct 12, 2019 3:36 pm
I have to disagree with most of your points here. Although I do like your quote "Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants" as it demonstrates induced demand. More service equates to a greater than commensurate increase in ridership and airlines know this well - just look at Delta's operation in Atlanta. I strongly believe that making most long distance routes double daily or increasing the 3/weekly service to daily would lead to a greater than doubling of ridership and revenue.
To illustrate, look at the long distance routes that pass through Ohio in the middle of the night. If you added a service that was offset by 12 hours, you'd have a mid-day service that would see much higher ridership. Same thing with the Crescent passing through CLT at 2am both directions. To give another example from my area of New Orleans, we have 3 long distance routes, but none of them connect to each other without an overnight stay. If you double services, you'd have far more connecting opportunities - BHM-HOU; SAT-ATL, MEM-LFT, etc.
As for costs, the staffing costs per mile would decrease as you grow, because you'd be hiring younger employees with less seniority and the average would shift lower. You'd also have more flexibility to more efficiently schedule crew - for example instead of working 4 hours outbound and then staying overnight at a hotel to work the next inbound, you could have that crew work an inbound that would be scheduled later the same day.
Low frequency and poor timings as I mention above are okay for leisure travelers, but if you increase the frequency, you'll attract more business travel which would fill those weekday and winter, etc. seats. And at higher last minute fares too.
Adding more trains is the same as adding lanes or using larger pants. To have induced demand there must be a demand first.
People don’t buy larger pants until they can’t fit into their existing pants, and traffic planners do not plan highway expansions until there traffic jams already on the highway.
LD train crews don’t run a train for 4 hours at a time, which would allow them to return on the same day. They run the trains for 8 hours at least, and can’t run a return train later that day, they are required off time by federal regulations. That is why they wait for the next day.. Of course, Amtrak could double their number of crew change stations, doubling management costs and crews. But that will not lower costs at all.
Have you ever taken the time to consider what the Lake Shore Limited or Capital Limit schedules would be displaced by 12 hours?
Let’s look at both trains, limiting the stations to the two terminating stations and one intermediate station (Cleveland).
New York City 3:40 am
Cleveland 3:33 pm
Chicago 9:50 pm
Chicago 9:30 am
Cleveland 5:38 pm
New York City 6:35 am
D.C. 4:05 am
Cleveland 2:53 pm
Chicago 8:45 pm
Chicago 6:40 am
Cleveland 1:45 pm
I would suggest that this is a worse schedule than the existing schedule.
Maybe both trains schedules could be changed into a very long day train with coaches only; with the removal of sleeper cars from it. Move the CL WB to a 7:05 am departure from New York, 5:53 pm in Cleveland, and a 11:45 pm in Chicago. Keep the EB to where it was moved earlier.
I don’t think a coach only day trip can be done with the LSL in either direction. It just too long for a 6 am departure with a before midnight arrival at the terminating stations.