How much new service is coming? And how?

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How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Greg Moore » Thu Jul 20, 2017 9:33 pm

Ok, this is definitely a speculation type discussion, but please bear with me.

I got thinking today about how much new service Amtrak seems to be looking at. And it's quite impressive.
Some seems more definite than others, but there seems to be a lot coming.
So I thought it would be interesting to consolidate some of the discussion in one place.

For example, the expanded Virginia service appears to be a definite.
And now we've got hints (only that) of a restored Montrealer.
And there's discussion of re-introducing the Sunset East.
And an additional Twin-Cities/Chicago train.
And I know there were plans (still stalled I think) for expanded service to the Quad Cities.
Oh and some talk about an expanded Heartland Flyer.

I'm sure I'm missing stuff. But I'm also trying to focus on routes that actually appear to have a chance, not ones WE may want.

So what ones do you think are likely and when?
And the more important question is... where the hell is the equipment going to come from? (I know for some, no extra equipment may be needed, for example, I think the Montrealer, if it comes to fruition will simply be able to use the existing Vermonter equipment, correct?)

Let's just focus on immediate, likely improvements.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby OrangeGrove » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:01 pm

There are no plans or discussions on re-introducing the Sunset Limited (Sunset East) east of New Orleans. There are, however, very real plans (which were to have come to fruition as soon as later this year, were CSX not so intransigent) to extend the City of New Orleans to Orlando. There are also discussions of an additional regional Mobile to New Orleans train (but that would call for state funding).

Amtrak has stated it has the equipment for the City of New Orleans extension.
Last edited by GirlOnTheTrain on Fri Jul 21, 2017 9:08 am, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Do not quote the post directly before yours. It's redundant.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby east point » Thu Jul 20, 2017 10:39 pm

Amtrak may have stated they have equipment. However if there is any incident that sidelines several passenger cars then the whole metric becomes different. Right now Amtrak cleans out its equipment roster during high travel times and rents commuter equipment for the Thanksgiving rush.
Its all about getting more equipment with CAF going very slow and Nippon (N-S) completely stopped at present. Short term only extensions that require no additional equipment that can be maintained will happen. Roanoke, Vermonter, Cascades ( actually WA DOT & OR DOT has extra equipment that will allow 2 additional round trips when Point Defiance by-pass is complete ), Capital corridor may be able to squeeze another RT. So Cal maybe as well. Daily Cardinal and Sunset probably not enough equipment.
Midwest ? ?
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby mtuandrew » Thu Jul 20, 2017 11:35 pm

A new Twin Cities Hiawatha will appear after the Roanoke Service and the Montrealer, since those are more or less ready to go. The Sunset East Corridor has a fair bit of momentum about it too, and a USDOT and state DOTs willing to pay CSX's ransom - either it restarts by 2020 or it never restarts at all.

That said, MnDOT and WisDOT have been working toward a second daily MSP-CHI for years. I think it's a certainty by the early 2020s.

The daily Cardinal is anyone's guess, but would be a good goal for Virginia and Indiana especially.

The Black Hawk isn't getting off the ground until Illinois gets solvent, and unless the recent poster knows something, we were just saying "wouldn't it be nice" about the Heartland Flyer.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:30 am

After that OOPs derailment of a Cascade set,there's got to be a sense of urgency to open that bypass neat Tacoma.
Untill the US Customs preclearence is OK'ed by Canada and is up and running at Montreal ,the return of the Montrealer has to wait.
Did American View do the return test back to St Albans? Or come back home with the Adirondak?
The City of New Orleans(City of Jacksonville?)extension along with the Gulf Coaster(Sunset East) will need some "give and take"
between the feds,the states,Amtrak,and the EHH lead CSX, to settle on a $$$$$ amount to reopen the route.
CSX(&EHH) is insisting on the "their" original price tag of "their" required "improvements" needs to be met after "agreeing" to a
more modest list and price tag of needed improvements.
The report to Congress for return of service along the gulf coast should be required reading.

The Roanoke Va service(NE Regional) seems to on course to open as planned.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jul 21, 2017 12:46 am

I thought US Customs preclearance was already approved.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Jul 21, 2017 1:15 am

While Vancouver is up and running,believe the canadian bill was passed in their "house" and was caught between sessions at the capital,
reportedly the new session starts his month.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Allouette » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:29 am

The Montreal pre-clearance facility is planned for the Adirondack, even if extended Vermonter service is delayed.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jul 21, 2017 6:37 am

If a service is not locally funded, forget it.

In short, no expansions of Federally funded LD routes/frequencies - and even includes should Donkeys should be chomping @ 1600's grass come '21.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:11 am

mtuandrew wrote:
The daily Cardinal is anyone's guess, but would be a good goal for Virginia and Indiana especially.


Most of the Indiana and Virginia stops on the Cardinal already have daily service. If the Cardinal just replaces the Hoosier State, Indiana will have no net gain in terms of service except for Connersville (although it would be federally funded as opposed to state funded). There's already two daily trains between CVS and WAS not counting the Cardinal so Virginia goes from 2 3/7 trips to 3 (3/7 to 1 for Staunton). Not much to gain for Virginia or Indiana. If Virginia wanted more service between CVS and WAS/NYP, they could easily start another Lynchburg/Roanoake train on their own.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:46 am

But Federal funding is exactly why the two states would benefit so much. A daily train to Staunton or Connersville is much better than 3/7 of one. Not saying it's right, especially since Indiana is so willing to freeload (Virginia much less so), but that it makes economic sense for the two states to lobby for a daily Federally-funded Cardinal just as it makes sense for Pennsylvania to lobby for a Broadway to Chicago or Nevada to lobby for a new Desert Wind. Amtrak won't consider what no one suggests.

Mr. Norman: what would you consider local funding? Would it have to be operating funds, or could it be in-kind improvements to (say) the Buckingham Branch?
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Bob Roberts » Fri Jul 21, 2017 11:52 am

There will be additional Piedmont frequencies as well. One new Charlotte to Raleigh roundtrip should start in less than a year (with timetable info available in the Fall). The timeline is fuzzier for the second new frequency, but I believe its required as part of the ARRA grant. NCDOT has already purchased and refurbished the heritage gear necessary for the service (also part of the ARRA grant).
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby east point » Fri Jul 21, 2017 3:26 pm

Come on folks. Amtrak does not have the equipment yet to start new services. Amtrak now schedules more equipment into maintenance during slow periods. Then pulls all cars out even those with maintenance issues that do not affect their running ability for high traffic times. At 88 - 90% availability listed on the MPRs there really is not any slop in equipment availability. After the Vermonter boulder collision the cars damaged replacements had to be robbed from other NEC trains. Come Thanksgiving Amtrak uses its NEC train sets to run extras but still has to borrow NJT and MARC commuter equipment to carry all the passengers. Even so many trains sold out during last Thanksgiving all BOS <> NYP trains almost or completely sold out.

Amtrak's 5 year future plans do not show much passenger growth so it must not expect at this time more equipment ? Yes the Piedmont additional RT will add more passengers
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Greg Moore » Fri Jul 21, 2017 4:20 pm

That's sort of my point east point. Amtrak is lacking in equipment, but despite that still seems to be planning several expansions. I'm curious partly HOW. In the case of the Virginia service, I believe it's simply extending existing trains that would normally be sitting overnight.
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Re: How much new service is coming? And how?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Fri Jul 21, 2017 5:15 pm

mtuandrew wrote:Mr. Norman: what would you consider local funding? Would it have to be operating funds, or could it be in-kind improvements to (say) the Buckingham Branch?


Mr. Stephens, Local funding means any level below Federal. In.most cases that means State, but it could also mean a regional or multi-state agency.
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