Cardinal discussion

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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Arlington » Fri Mar 09, 2018 12:35 am

While driven by NYP trackwork, would they take advantage of the likely months' long ops from WAS to make it a superliner train?
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby east point » Fri Mar 09, 2018 3:43 am

Highly unlikely. All Superliners needed for summer crushes.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby Tadman » Fri Mar 09, 2018 2:23 pm

Ultimately, this train would make a lot of sense to be "Skeena'ed". For those not familiar, Via once had an overnight train called the Skeena running from Jasper to Prince Rupert. A few years back they decided to drop the sleepers, pause overnight at Prince George, and continue on the next day.

Given that Cardinal has heavy loads Cinci-Chicago and NYP-Charleston, it might make sense to equip it with long distance coaches only, drop the bag and sleeper, and pause overnight somewhere like Ashland.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby R&DB » Fri Mar 09, 2018 4:46 pm

Tadman said:
A few years back they decided to drop the sleepers, pause overnight at Prince George, and continue on the next day.

I'd rather stay in the sleeper (meals included) than have to book a hotel and pay for meals.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby justalurker66 » Fri Mar 09, 2018 7:20 pm

Cincinnati would be a fair layover if the westbound stays on the same schedule leaving NY. Stopping further east would add too much delay reaching cities that could be served at "reasonable" after midnight hours. Passengers could have the option of getting off when the train arrived or at a reasonable "check out" time later in the morning. But that would delay the Indy to Chicago passengers. An earlier start eastbound would cut short the day in Chicago but provide a better Cincinnati arrival time.

But I would not want to see sleepers removed from the train. To provide that kind of service the train would need to stop much earlier in the night (10pm) and hold long enough that passengers could leave, get a reasonable night's sleep and return before the train left again. Five extra hours in Cincinnati would not harm the service too much ... a 10 hour layover would be bad.

The biggest losers would be the overnight coach customers. The more the train moves the better.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby SouthernRailway » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:44 am

I'd say: ideally, Amtrak would work to decrease trip times between NY/DC and Chicago--at least to what they were in the 1960s--so that there could be an overnight train leaving in the evening and arriving in the morning, at the start of the workday, that could actually attract riders going between those city pairs and not just mostly people getting on or off at intermediate stops. NY/DC-Chicago should be a huge market for Amtrak.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Mar 10, 2018 10:29 am

I agree, and to do that Amtrak needs its own corridor. My family is currently on 51(9) WAS-CHI on their way to MSP with my two 8-year-old nephews, and I can’t imagine how much they all need to be off!
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby R&DB » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:27 am

Here's another alternative for what you both proposed.
Terminate the Cardinal at Washington, the NEC doesn't need the Cardinal, it has Acela and the Northeast Regionals as well as NJT and SEPTA. Cardinal's purpose is to serve West Virginia, the Ohio River Valley and Indianapolis. Washington to Chicago has the more direct Capitol Limited which should run semi-express. New York has the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago via Albany, Buffalo and Cleveland that should be made semi-express by only stopping at major stations. Upstate New York has the Empire Service for the local stuff but perhaps they could add a Buffalo to Chicago Regional Service for the local stops there. Eliminate the Keystone New York to Pittsburgh and add the Broadway Limited New York to Chicago stopping only at major stations like Philly, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Wheeling, etc. Make the Keystone Service Philly to Wheeling. If you need to travel NYC to a local stop in PA, change trains in Philadelphia.
Shortens time for all routes and you may get more patronage.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Mar 10, 2018 12:59 pm

R&DB wrote:Here's another alternative for what you both proposed.

Oof. Let's address these one by one.
R&DB wrote:Terminate the Cardinal at Washington, the NEC doesn't need the Cardinal, it has Acela and the Northeast Regionals as well as NJT and SEPTA. Cardinal's purpose is to serve West Virginia, the Ohio River Valley and Indianapolis.

Agreed in theory, though in practice it also serves a big NYC-Charleston market. Let's come back to that.
R&DB wrote:Washington to Chicago has the more direct Capitol Limited which should run semi-express. New York has the Lake Shore Limited to Chicago via Albany, Buffalo and Cleveland that should be made semi-express by only stopping at major stations.

They already run semi-express. Which stations do you suggest dropping? There aren't many that can be dropped without entire states losing service.
R&DB wrote:Upstate New York has the Empire Service for the local stuff but perhaps they could add a Buffalo to Chicago Regional Service for the local stops there.

How about we just add a second LSL frequency with the same stations, but off by about 12 hours? Like I said, there aren't that many stations that can come out of the schedule.
R&DB wrote:Eliminate the Keystone New York to Pittsburgh

Nope, Pennsylvania funds Keystone Service NYC-PHL-HAR and I believe they also help fund the Pennsylvanian NYC-PHL-HAR-PGH. Amtrak can't really mess with them, and doesn't want to.
R&DB wrote:...and add the Broadway Limited New York to Chicago stopping only at major stations like Philly, Harrisburg, Pittsburgh, Wheeling, etc.

But why? If someone wants to get from NYC to Chicago in a hurry, they fly or drive. Smaller-town station stops don't take up that much time in the grand scheme, and add a surprising amount of ridership even beyond the Congressional mandate to serve rural communities. Also, since when is Wheeling a major city? :P
R&DB wrote:Make the Keystone Service Philly to Wheeling. If you need to travel NYC to a local stop in PA, change trains in Philadelphia.

But why should western Pennsylvania lose its NYC connection?
R&DB wrote:Shortens time for all routes and you may get more patronage.

I think you'd lose a lot of patronage, because you're disconnecting large cities (HAR, PGH) from their single seat ride to the biggest destination (NYC) on the Amtrak system.

If West Virginia can get its act together (severe drought in state budget) and work with Virginia, NS, and the Buckingham Branch, it could consider funding a regional NYC-Charleston. I think it would be popular, whether or not the Cardinal goes daily or is cut back to Washington.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby R&DB » Sat Mar 10, 2018 2:32 pm

Mtuandrew wrote:
They already run semi-express. Which stations do you suggest dropping?

Didn't know that, correction accepted.
Nope, Pennsylvania funds Keystone Service NYC-PHL-HAR and I believe they also help fund the Pennsylvanian NYC-PHL-HAR-PGH. Amtrak can't really mess with them, and doesn't want to.

My bad. I confused Keystone for Pennsylvanian. Better to extend Pennsyvanian to Chicago and run semi-express. Then run Keystone Service Philly to Pittsburgh.
But why? If someone wants to get from NYC to Chicago in a hurry, they fly or drive.

Some people do not fly. (Like myself, and I don't like driving more than 2 hours)
Also, since when is Wheeling a major city?

Granted. Leave that to the Capitol Limited.
I think you'd lose a lot of patronage, because you're disconnecting large cities (HAR, PGH) from their single seat ride to the biggest destination (NYC) on the Amtrak system.

If West Virginia can get its act together (severe drought in state budget) and work with Virginia, NS, and the Buckingham Branch, it could consider funding a regional NYC-Charleston. I think it would be popular, whether or not the Cardinal goes daily or is cut back to Washington.

HAR and PGH would still have single seat rides to NYC. Just the smaller stops would have to change in PHI. But I totally agree with you about West Virginia.

The other thought I had was by cutting back Cardinal to Washington would free up 6 slots a week into NYP.

Thanks for your discussion and input.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Sat Mar 10, 2018 3:56 pm

A stand-alone Broadway Limited (aka Three Rivers) would be great! I think Amtrak is toying with through cars between the Pennsylvanian and the Capitol Limited, which would be a good first step.

I’m not opposed to cutting back the Cardinal to DC. In past posts, I’ve suggested swapping the Cap’s consist with the Card’s. It would mean adding a PGH-NYC section onto the Cap, cutting the Card to CHI-WAS, and making the Card a daily Superliner train. Honestly, I think Amtrak would have enough cars to make this work by shuffling new sleeper cars into the current Hoosier, Cardinal, Capitol Limited, and Pennsylvanian consists.
Last edited by mtuandrew on Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:29 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby palmland » Sat Mar 10, 2018 4:22 pm

As someone said, the Cardinal's market is really West Virginia and the midwest. I think it does a decent job of serving West Virginia. It could do a lot more for the midwest. If you were going from the NEC to Chicago (assuming you're not a railfan): 16 hours on the Capitol, 23 on the Cardinal. It also probably serves a purpose Indianapolis to Chicago but the state should pay for a daily train, although the slow schedule is terrible.

I believe a lot more could be done to serve the midwest by combining the train with the Palmetto NYP-WAS. The earlier departure and later arrival would put arrival into Huntington or Ashland, KY at much better times to have Thruway buses connect to Columbus and Louisville (both about 2.5 hours by road). A midnight arrival in Cinci and 6am return would help attract riders from that large city and may provide a Thruway connection to Dayton, if not on to Indianapolis. I'm not sure the train serves a useful purpose beyond Cinci, especially on a tri weekly schedule. The mileage saved by combining it with the Palmetto NY-WAS and making it a Cincinnati daytime trains would enable a daily operation. Use the sleepers (plus some of the new ones) on the Pennsylvanian for a CL connection at Pittsburgh, assuming the funds could be found to make the necessary track changes in Pittsburgh.

It needs to serve its key market well rather than trying to do all things poorly.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby R&DB » Sat Mar 10, 2018 5:04 pm

As I have stated before the whole point of the Cardinal is to service West Virginia and the Ohio River valley. It does not need to service the NEC into NYP. Terminate it at Washington. If Charleston really needs NYP single seat rides, then West Virginia should fund it.

If you want more more efficient NYC - CHI service, you don't go thru DC or Albany. You go through PHI, limit the stops and help NS upgrade the track west of Harrisburg. Whether you call it the Broadway Limited or the Three Rivers is immaterial.

But as a railfan I would prefer the scenery through Western Virginia, West Virginia and along the Ohio River on the Cardinal to the other routes and time is not an issue. If I gotta take a NE Regional to Washington to catch Cardinal so be it.
Last edited by R&DB on Sun Mar 11, 2018 12:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby David Benton » Sat Mar 10, 2018 9:24 pm

Cardinal ridership stats,
https://www.railpassengers.org/site/ass ... 448/18.pdf
Surprisingly , West Virginia cities may not have as high a ridership as you would think. Only Charleston makes an appearance in both the top ten tables. Charlottesville is the real surprise. I think the Cardinal should be daily to there, same day turn on the days the full Cardinal doesn't run.
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Re: Cardinal discussion

Postby east point » Sat Mar 10, 2018 11:35 pm

Palmetto connections at WASH may have merit. Once again quit trying to make the Cardinal an end to end train. Passengers from Indianapolis to Charlottesville need the connections at WASH and CHI.
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