Cardinal discussion

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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Jan 08, 2017 7:56 pm

How much equipment moves to BEE on the Cardinal nowadays?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby David Benton » Sun Jan 08, 2017 11:57 pm

Arlington wrote:This emphasis on "Cardinal was full" doesn't really tell us anything, particularly given that the train takes in only $8m vs $24m in costs. It could mean:
1) Prices were too low
2) The train can only sustain/fill a short consist (poor efficiency locomotive, track, slot costs)
3) People tend to report their train was full (people's similar needs create peak loads; on empty trains there's so few people there's less of chance of getting a trip report here)


Should be easy enough to tell my doing some booking inquires over the next 6 months to a year. I will say people who know a train, such as the Cardinal, has limited supply will tend to book in advance, as opposed to say booking a ticket on the NEC where you would expect there to be a seat at the last minute, if only at a off peak hour.

But I think we are missing the real point,rural politics. When trains in NZ were on the chopping block, I was very surprised as to which trains were saved, due to local pressure on politicans . It wasn't people in the big (by NZ standards) endpoints that jumped up and down, it was the people in the small towns in between that did . And those small towns had the numbers to make a single train important enough to save.
My point is , The majority of people in Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, New York , couldn't give a toss if the Cardinal was scrapped. But a good portion of the people in Huntington, Charleston et al , would, and perhaps Amtrak knows this, and what the resulting fallout from the area's politicans would be.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby CComMack » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:13 am

A lot of the discussion around the timing of the Cardinal has to do with the trade-off between being able to make connections in Chicago to/from the western trains, and the ability to serve Cincinnati at a reasonable hour. Question for those in a position to know: how much of the Cardinal's ridership is connecting in Chicago to once-daily trains?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:34 am

mtuandrew wrote:How much equipment moves to BEE on the Cardinal nowadays?

Everything.

I do not believe they run deadhead trains. Even the Hoosier State is tagged on to the Cardinal for the two deadhead moves each week.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:46 am

When the IP set runs,they don't tow anything for Amtrak to/from Indy,
When the Cardinal runs,they tow everything headed to BEE and back to Chicago.
The IP Deadhead moves are also handled by the Cardinal.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Mon Jan 09, 2017 6:58 am

David Benton wrote:My point is , The majority of people in Chicago, Cincinnati, Washington, New York , couldn't give a toss if the Cardinal was scrapped.


Maybe then Amtrak needs to find a way to make those areas give a toss (never heard that expression before).

Amtrak was asked by people in Cincinnati if the train can be scheduled to better serve Cincinnati. Their response translated: No! They were also asked about other trains that can better serve Cincinnati and the Amtrak people made it sound like "ride our train and we might be able to give you more", implying Amtrak has to prove they deserve trains that serve them.

http://www.urbancincy.com/2016/10/episo ... -cardinal/

There are (or were) selfish politicians who only care about themselves and to heck with the rest of the country. There are also others that would like Amtrak to be self sufficient. Well running Byrd Crap isn't going help. Congress needs to just butt out when it comes to train routes and let the people of Amtrak who know what trains are good for business and have good ridership and revenue and maybe Amtrak will be self sufficient (I believe the latest is 94%). Amtrak would listen to us when deciding which trains run and which don't, Congress should as well (especially since they're spending OUR money).

No, West Virginia is not a reason to waste $16 million on a 1100 mile, 27 hour train. Need I remind you...

Population within 25 miles of the following stations:

Cincinnati: 1,748,725

Ashland: 323,357
Huntington: 299,913
Charleston: 279,421
Staunton: 239,551
Connorsville: 214,866
Montgomery: 206,420
S. Portsmouth: 199,942
Prince: 160,758
Thurmond: 149,762
Hinton: 149,621
Maysville: 100,580
Alderson: 67,325
Clifton Forge: 64,972
White Sulphur Springs: 59,028

Have shorter trains serve the markets where people live and tell those people in West Virginia who push for trains to pay for them themselves. Amtrak has much higher priorities. I'd go to Congress and tell them would you rather pay for an 1100 mile train that costs $16 million or separate Chicago-Cincinnati and Charlottesville-New York trains that cost less without sacrificing that much ridership/revenue. People like me don't like paying for stuff that we don't use. If someone in Philly whose metro is actually served by Byrd Crap doesn't care (and only 5,969 boarded the train from PHL in 2015 so very few people in our area care), imagine how people in Texas and Florida feel about it (or even worse people in Las Vegas and Nashville that have no trains at all). Trains "work" in large population metros. That's why New York, Chicago, and Philly have local rapid transit trains and places like Prince, WV don't (there's not enough riders to make it worth the cost). If you run a train to serve no large population metros, no one will ride it. The trains might be full in some areas but I'll never believe it's full between Cincinnati and Charlottesville. And even if it is, it's because of a smaller consist than the other trains. There's more coaches/sleepers on the LSL, SM, SS, and Crescent because demand is higher there.

Why do I pick on the Cardinal? Every other LD train serves a specific purpose. You take away the California Zephyr and there's no train between Chicago and the Bay Area and no train serving Denver and Salt Lake City. Even the Sunset Limited (even though it's performance is as bad as the Cardinal) serves the Texas to California route and taking that away would make it much harder for people from San Antonio, Houston, and Dallas/Ft. Worth (by way of the Texas Eagle) to get to California and vice versa (and Houston would have no trains at all). That's why the SL East is important. Try getting from NOL/Texas to Florida now. As a LD train, the Cardinal is a slower longer LSL/CL and the largest market lost would be Cincinnati, a market Amtrak (or Congress) doesn't care about anyway. So yes it is the most expendable train by far. Either serve the largest unique market at reasonable hours or take the train and put it in Byrd's grave where it belongs.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:06 am

CComMack wrote:A lot of the discussion around the timing of the Cardinal has to do with the trade-off between being able to make connections in Chicago to/from the western trains, and the ability to serve Cincinnati at a reasonable hour. Question for those in a position to know: how much of the Cardinal's ridership is connecting in Chicago to once-daily trains?


Well ridership in and out of Chicago for...

LSL: 164,470
CL: 143,411
Cardinal:45,495

The most popular city pair on the LSL is CHI-NYP and the most popular on the CL is CHI-WAS (second is CHI-PGH). The three most popular city pairs on the Cardinal are CHI-IND, CHI-Lafayette, and CHI-CIN, nowhere near the full distance. So the LSL and CL are more likely to attract the LD passenger who is more likely to make the cross country trip than the Cardinal (and even if the people of Indiana want to transfer west just have the Hoosier State stay in the Cardinal slot). People in Cincinnati would probably rather a train at a good hour than the ability to transfer west. And NYP and WAS have other trains if they want to transfer.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 09, 2017 7:34 am

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:Population within 25 miles of the following stations:
Cincinnati: 1,748,725

Ashland: 323,357
Huntington: 299,913
Charleston: 279,421
Staunton: 239,551
Connorsville: 214,866
Montgomery: 206,420
S. Portsmouth: 199,942
Prince: 160,758
Thurmond: 149,762
Hinton: 149,621
Maysville: 100,580
Alderson: 67,325
Clifton Forge: 64,972
White Sulphur Springs: 59,028


There's a lot of double-counting in those WV numbers (stations are closer than 25 mi apart, and I suspect the population is crowded along the line)
From WSS to Montgomery is 120 mi and 6 stops.
I'm going back to my calculation:

ALL of WV has a population of 1.8m. From this subtract populations well north of the Cardinal, for whom Amtrak is a Capitol Limited-or-nothing proposition:
- 0.28m in eastern panhandle
- 0.18m in Morgantown-Fairmont
- 0.05m in Weirton
- 0.77m in Wheeling
Taking out these 1.3m across the northern tier of WV, that leaves, at best,just 0.5m West Virginians "within range" of the Cardinal.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:11 am

ALL of WV has a population of 1.8m. From this subtract populations well north of the Cardinal, for whom Amtrak is a Capitol Limited-or-nothing proposition:
- 0.28m in eastern panhandle
- 0.18m in Morgantown-Fairmont
- 0.05m in Weirton
- 0.77m in Wheeling
Taking out these 1.3m across the northern tier of WV, that leaves, at best,just 0.5m West Virginians "within range" of the Cardinal.


Counting the CL, it's 868,877 within 25 miles, representing 23% of the state (although I'm guessing Martinsburg and Harper's Ferry aren't much). That is double counting since the entire state as Arlington said has 1.8 million. The Cincinnati metropolitan area alone has 2,157,719 (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_M ... ical_Areas).

https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/fi ... s_2015.pdf

I'm glad someone here actually cares about population. Others say let's just let the Senate (or who's in charge of the Senate) decide who gets trains and who doesn't and who gets stuck with the graveyard shift.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 09, 2017 8:49 am

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:I'm glad someone here actually cares about population. Others say let's just let the Senate (or who's in charge of the Senate) decide who gets trains and who doesn't and who gets stuck with the graveyard shift.

We happy few :-)

Whose metric is the "25mile radius" ...is that a NARP thing?, If stations are 40+ miles apart that's a great way to gauge demand (maybe for LDs out west?), but in West Virginia (to emphasize where we agree) *Triple* counting is possible with stations 24 miles apart.

Imagine a city of 100k that was 2miles in diameter with stations downtown and 24 miles on each side. That 100k would be counted as 300k in any 25mi radius numbers (even of the outlying towns had zero).

Where stations are 24 miles apart--as is the case in WV, you'd have to use a 12mi radius to avoid double/triple counting.

I don't begrudge the WVs their many stops, but don't let the fact that they are luxuriously served physically lead us to make.it seem they are a market to rival CIN in size (all of WV service area together are just 1/3 to 1/4 the size of CIN alone.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby CComMack » Mon Jan 09, 2017 11:59 am

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:
CComMack wrote:A lot of the discussion around the timing of the Cardinal has to do with the trade-off between being able to make connections in Chicago to/from the western trains, and the ability to serve Cincinnati at a reasonable hour. Question for those in a position to know: how much of the Cardinal's ridership is connecting in Chicago to once-daily trains?


Well ridership in and out of Chicago for...

LSL: 164,470
CL: 143,411
Cardinal:45,495

The most popular city pair on the LSL is CHI-NYP and the most popular on the CL is CHI-WAS (second is CHI-PGH). The three most popular city pairs on the Cardinal are CHI-IND, CHI-Lafayette, and CHI-CIN, nowhere near the full distance. So the LSL and CL are more likely to attract the LD passenger who is more likely to make the cross country trip than the Cardinal (and even if the people of Indiana want to transfer west just have the Hoosier State stay in the Cardinal slot). People in Cincinnati would probably rather a train at a good hour than the ability to transfer west. And NYP and WAS have other trains if they want to transfer.


Given what the present schedule is, one of the few incentives to take Amtrak to/from Cincinnati is a connection in Chicago. So, I'm less interested in speculation, and more interested in hard data about how many people would need a hotel stay in Chicago (not cheap) if we broke the Cardinal's connections. If we want to speculate, the raw boardings in Chicago are not strong evidence that the Cardinal has less transferring passengers than the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited. This way lies madness, and is not worth pursuing without data.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby bratkinson » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:39 pm

CComMack wrote:Given what the present schedule is, one of the few incentives to take Amtrak to/from Cincinnati is a connection in Chicago. So, I'm less interested in speculation, and more interested in hard data about how many people would need a hotel stay in Chicago (not cheap) if we broke the Cardinal's connections. If we want to speculate, the raw boardings in Chicago are not strong evidence that the Cardinal has less transferring passengers than the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited. This way lies madness, and is not worth pursuing without data.


Given my connecting experience last May from the California Zephyr to the Cardinal, there's more people than expected that connect to LD trains from the West. We were running 4-5 hours late due to a rock slide in Colorado that damaged the track (BNSF was there to fix it in about an hour!), it was decided to get us off at Galesburg and bus us to Indianapolis to meet it. In all, there were about 20 people on that overgrown airport shuttle bus with comfortable seats...and that was in the non-peak pre-summer time of the year!
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Mon Jan 09, 2017 12:40 pm

CComMack wrote:
Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:
CComMack wrote:A lot of the discussion around the timing of the Cardinal has to do with the trade-off between being able to make connections in Chicago to/from the western trains, and the ability to serve Cincinnati at a reasonable hour. Question for those in a position to know: how much of the Cardinal's ridership is connecting in Chicago to once-daily trains?


Well ridership in and out of Chicago for...

LSL: 164,470
CL: 143,411
Cardinal:45,495

The most popular city pair on the LSL is CHI-NYP and the most popular on the CL is CHI-WAS (second is CHI-PGH). The three most popular city pairs on the Cardinal are CHI-IND, CHI-Lafayette, and CHI-CIN, nowhere near the full distance. So the LSL and CL are more likely to attract the LD passenger who is more likely to make the cross country trip than the Cardinal (and even if the people of Indiana want to transfer west just have the Hoosier State stay in the Cardinal slot). People in Cincinnati would probably rather a train at a good hour than the ability to transfer west. And NYP and WAS have other trains if they want to transfer.


Given what the present schedule is, one of the few incentives to take Amtrak to/from Cincinnati is a connection in Chicago. So, I'm less interested in speculation, and more interested in hard data about how many people would need a hotel stay in Chicago (not cheap) if we broke the Cardinal's connections. If we want to speculate, the raw boardings in Chicago are not strong evidence that the Cardinal has less transferring passengers than the Lake Shore or Capitol Limited. This way lies madness, and is not worth pursuing without data.


OK.

This report uses FY 2014 data (NARP is FY 2015)

https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/873/180/Ch ... Report.pdf

63,195 passengers that passed through Chicago Union Station transferred. That's more than the entire FY 2015 ridership in and out of Chicago on the Cardinal. If you assume the same % of LSL passengers transferred that would be even higher. If even 30% of LSL passengers transfer (the CL has more than 40% transferring) that is still higher than the entire ridership of the Cardinal.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:05 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:Why do I pick on the Cardinal? Every other LD train serves a specific purpose.

For 15 cities the Cardinal is their only Amtrak. Five cities have the Hoosier State, but would that survive without the Cardinal?

The secondary purpose of the Cardinal is to connect Beech Grove to Chicago. Theoretically Amtrak could drop the Cardinal and use the Hoosier State as the hospital train, but anything less than 750mi must be state supported and (per the State of Indiana and IP's contract) Amtrak would need to pay for cars towed.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Jan 09, 2017 1:34 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:This report uses FY 2014 data (NARP is FY 2015)
https://www.amtrak.com/ccurl/873/180/Ch ... Report.pdf

63,195 passengers that passed through Chicago Union Station transferred. That's more than the entire FY 2015 ridership in and out of Chicago on the Cardinal. If you assume the same % of LSL passengers transferred that would be even higher. If even 30% of LSL passengers transfer (the CL has more than 40% transferring) that is still higher than the entire ridership of the Cardinal.


if we're both reading the illustration on page 35, the 63,195 were only drawn from the Capitol Ltd's 153,397 in 2014. So let's pull up NARP's 2014 report: https://www.narprail.org/site/assets/fi ... s_2014.pdf

The CL's connections included 11k to state service (which I'm going to assume are easier to connect to), so only 52k were to other LDs. That's 30% of CL pax going to other LDs via CHI in 2014.

If the Cardinal is also getting 30% LD connections at CHI, that's .3 x 49,224 (2014 Cardinal ridership at CHI) = 17k.
Given that the Cardinal is the slow train, to WAS&NEC, might we assume that its connecting power is lower?

Meanwhile, recall that CIN does 14k today. Let's say that 8k go to CHI, and that 6k connect there.

If CIN performed as well as CHW, it would add 30k to 60k riders, but then "lose" the 6k who connect (the 30k reflects losses from people not being able to see the New River Gorge in daylight and other more pessimistic things)

So today, there's something like 2 to 3 trips being "not taken" at CIN for every 1 LD trip being taken on the Cardinal for the sake of LD connections at CHI.
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