Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 10:37 am

If that were true the Meteor would be full further out than the Star.
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby Alex M » Sat Dec 30, 2017 11:45 am

Regarding any changes to the Palmetto, I would leave well enough alone. Along with Auto Train, the Palmetto comes the closest to breaking even of all the LD trains. It serves an important market of intermediate cities and towns. For the silver service trains, Adding more sleepers and baggage dorms is the obvious way to go. Back in the day when Seaboard Air Line ran these trains, they regularly were 16 to 18 cars long even into the mid 1960's with two diners. Maybe a little back to the future is in order here. Going forward, completion of the Richmond to Raleigh leg of the SEHSR would speed the Silver Star up. Maybe a Palmetto style of daytime service could be added. Perhaps it could be called the Palmland?
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:05 pm

It's also probably worth remembering in all of this that the Auto Train captures a significant portion of the market that used to travel on the Florida services from NYP, PHL and WAS.
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby gokeefe » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:11 pm

Here's a good example of the above re: Auto Train, Friday, Saturday and Sunday of the weekend after New Year's the train is totally sold out for all fares, including coach and business class.

Perhaps an opportunity for Amtrak would be to sell some max price tickets to travelers without cars.
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby palmland » Sat Dec 30, 2017 2:34 pm

Alex, you have obviously figured out my ulterior motive in my suggestions - a rebirth of the Palmland! A very popular local train through the Carolinas to New York. I remember a long stream of coaches, mostly heavyweight, being added northbound at Hamlet. My favorite car was the heavyweight grill-diner on the rear (ahead of the Miami sleeper). According to noted Trains editor, David P Morgan, they served coldest beer! Yes they did.

But, to address your comment of leaving well enough alone - basically what I'm suggesting is just an extension to the Palmetto on the Star route south of Savannah to Tampa and Miami and renamed the Silver Star. The market north of Savannah would not be substantially affected.

The Meteor becomes the primary train for the Jacksonville/Orlando market, while Tampa gets a morning arrival on the Star and a good schedule from there to Miami with decent spacing between the two trains at both ends of their schedules.

The Palmetto, perhaps renamed Palmland, shifts to the SAL route. Its evening departure and early am arrival from/to NYP, provides good connections to all points north. It would then have, southbound, morning arrival in Raleigh and noon in Columbia (two state capitols), and mid afternoon in Savannah and would serve those markets well. I also had the opportunity to ride the Havana/Gulf Coast Special north from Washington in the early morning hours (an ACL counterpart of the Palmland). It too was a long train and was clear evidence of the extent of the historical African-American northern migration in the 60's. I have talked with many families on Amtrak's Palmetto still making that journey, but now to see relatives 'back home'. Ideally, if it could be financed, the train would be extended to Jacksonville.

I do agree, when/if SEHSR comes to pass, the SAL would be the superior route for Silver Service, despite its curves and grades - as compared to ACL. CSX is actively downgrading many former SAL lines in the Carolinas so freight traffic interference would be minimal. The line between Hamlet and Columbia now has no freight traffic for about half the sub division, while the other half has only one local freight.
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby Alex M » Sat Dec 30, 2017 5:03 pm

I was glad to be able to bring up your favorite train, that is, the Palmland. You mentioned my favorite: the Havana Special. I well remember it from childhood riding it from Charleston, SC to Richmond, VA. When you got off at Broad St. Station, one of the first smells was the FFV Cookie plant next door. With the opening up of Cuba, perhaps this name could be revived. I recall a rather fine diner on it that served peanut soup among other offerings.
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Re: Silver Star Downgrade and Diner Discussion

Postby Jeff Smith » Fri Jan 05, 2018 12:40 pm

We're running a bit afield of the scope of the discussion. However, we do have a Palmetto topic: viewtopic.php?f=46&t=29632 if you want to talk about a resurrection.

Plus, I posted an interesting link just now in that topic.
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