Amtrak Expansion Plan

Discussion related to Amtrak also known as the National Railroad Passenger Corp.

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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby jonnhrr » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:32 am

Why Albany?

Note that would require reversing the train at NYP.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby Bostontoallpoints » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:35 am

I travel to Florida by train from Boston at least once a year. I don't find the New York connection inconvenient at all. I kind of like getting off the train and grabbing lunch in the city. I only travel with 2 bags and never check my bags. But if I did wouldn't checking your bags to NYP and then checking them from NYP to Florida be more convenient?
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby OrangeGrove » Tue Oct 24, 2017 10:43 am

There are valid reasons for all the eastern long-distance trains terminating in the same location; Specifically, equipment rotation. It makes it much easier to swap cars (or complete consists) going to/from the Viewliner maintenance base in Hialeah.

As for mail & express traffic, I don't think it was really necessary to completely throw out the baby with the bathwater. There are routes and markets for which carriage of such revenue-enhancing "light freight" makes sense (and Amtrak really, really needs the money). Further, this is added revenue for the long-distance routes which are too often attacked by passenger rail critics. Certainly any new moves into express traffic need to be carefully considered to avoid the adverse impacts on passenger service and serious equipment shortcomings of the previous effort, but the idea has potential.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby electricron » Tue Oct 24, 2017 11:16 am

Count the tracks Amtrak has available at Sunnyside Yard in New York, then count the tracks at Ivy Yard in D.C. and at Southampton Yard yard in Boston, you’ll discover the reason why most Regional trains using Amfleets are based from New York City. Add into your consideration that the Acela trains are not maintained much in New York.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:50 pm

I remember my first and only experience taking the Broadway Limited. We ran backwards all the way to Philadelphia. This would require the same between NYP and Albany.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby bostontrainguy » Tue Oct 24, 2017 12:57 pm

Bostontoallpoints wrote:I travel to Florida by train from Boston at least once a year. I don't find the New York connection inconvenient at all. I kind of like getting off the train and grabbing lunch in the city. I only travel with 2 bags and never check my bags. But if I did wouldn't checking your bags to NYP and then checking them from NYP to Florida be more convenient?


You can't check them BOS - NYP. If you have a lot of luggage, lugging them through Penn Station isn't much fun. We did that once. The biggest concern is if your train is late getting into Penn Station your luggage might not make the connection and then you are in big trouble especially if you are heading onto a cruise ship as we were. The safest way was sending them the night before.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Oct 24, 2017 1:36 pm

There are capacity issues between New York and Boston especially on Metro-North and in Connecticut. Wasting one important corridor slot for a handful (at best) of passengers can pass through New York without changing trains makes little or no sense. If you are not comfortable changing trains at NYP you can always do it at Washington which is probably a better bet anyway. As for checked baggage out of Boston trains 66 and 67 still offer checked baggage service and you can check your baggage on that train although you might prefer to ride a different one out of Boston. Running trains 19 and 20 out of Albany make even less sense and in fact it could tie up track space at Penn Station for a long period of time, in addition train 20 is often late, why disrupt corridor travel to Albany just so a very small number of individuals can go through New York without changing trains. Years ago when traffic was much less lots of switching took place at Penn Station, New York but today this is simply not possible with this place operating at capacity most of the day. As for general expansion, I generally favor more trains BUT not overnight trains. Daytime trains covering a reasonable distance that can be done in lets say 14 hours or less can and should work. Restoring the Broadway Limited of the past makes absolutely NO SENSE to me nor to anybody else who believes in common sense. One or two more daytime trains between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh supported by the State of Pennsylvanis would make much more sense than establishing an overnight train between Philadelphia and Chicago via Pittsburgh would and at less cost as well. The states that will help support in state corridor type trains should have them. The states that want trains but are not willing to help support in state corridor type trains should remain on the outside looking in. Not every state that helps support corridor type trains is in the northeast either, look at Illinois, North Carolina, Virginia, Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Washington and others far from the NEC. The possibilities are endless but we need to start with COMMON SENSE.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby Rockingham Racer » Tue Oct 24, 2017 3:56 pm

Does anyone have any hard statistics as to how many passengers on the east end of the corridor actually go south of Richmond? The lack of ability to check a bag is a big drawback for a lot of senior citizens. Who wants to make two trips to South Station or Providence, just for the sake of checking a bag. I don't.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Tue Oct 24, 2017 4:18 pm

Noel Weaver wrote: Restoring the Broadway Limited of the past makes absolutely NO SENSE to me nor to anybody else who believes in common sense. One or two more daytime trains between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh supported by the State of Pennsylvanis would make much more sense than establishing an overnight train between Philadelphia and Chicago via Pittsburgh would and at less cost as well.


So tell me how you really think Noel.

I would say if they fixed the timing of the Capitol Limited between CHI and PGH I and a lot of the Pennsylvania people wouldn't mind the transfer in PGH but no one wants to be kicked off a train at 5:05am in the morning and then wait in an Amshack in PGH until the 7:30am Pennsylvanian. Also having to wait until midnight for the westbound CL is not as bad but still bad. When the TR ran between PGH-CHI the westbound departure was earlier and the eastbound arrival was later and I'm pretty sure Pittsburgh residents used that train much more for travel to/from CHI than they did the CL. If they added one or two Pennsylvanians maybe they can add a train to arrive in PGH closer to midnight than the current around 8pm arrival into PGH so passengers aren't stranded there for nearly four hours. That would improve things. Also, an additional eastbound would give a safety net for a delayed CL from CHI. So extra Pennsylvanian service is still a benefit for the Pennsylvanians who wish to travel west of Pittsburgh even though Noel want to deny us a direct train. If they ever split the Silver Service at Savannah and make you transfer there at 5am for you to get from Florida to WAS or NYP, come talk to me. Of course I'll be just as bad because it will make it as hard for me to get to Florida. Meanwhile, I'm sure they'll never touch Byrd Crap.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby Noel Weaver » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:01 pm

We don't need more overnight trains crossing OHIO. The best expansion for Amtrak is more corridor type trains like Philadelphia - Pittsburgh. They serve more people, are cheaper to run and are much more pleasant to ride for most folks. There are probably at least 25 or more cities in the US that could do very well with corridor type service to other cities within 300 or 350 miles or so. Many are east of the Mississippi but there are also some west as well. California and the Pacific Northwest have proven this one time and time again. North Carolina, Virginia and Maine are proving this as well. As for patronage south of Richmond, North Carolina is proving that there is a lot of potential south of Richmond and if the other states joined in a lot more could happen here. New York - Savannah is proof that Amtrak feels this was as well and this corridor is doing quite well too.
If I were running Amtrak I would add a baggage car to one of the morning trains out of Boston that could provide a reasonable connection for train 97 at New York or Washington. That's all it would take to insure the luggage travels on the same train(s) with the passenger.
I keep looking back at what existed just before Amtrak took over in 1971 but even if Amtrak hadn't appeared on the scene these trains would not be running today. Amtrak isn't perfect but it is a lot better than what we would have had today if it had never been established. I remember the days of three or four through trains between New York and Chicago via Pittsburgh and a lot more before that but most of these trains were not really very pleasant to travel on at least in their last ten years or so. I could write a horror story about a trip EB on PRR train 50 from Chicago to New York in 1962 but I was riding on a pass, it was a long time ago and I will keep that one to myself at least for now.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby east point » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:09 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:There are capacity issues between New York and Boston especially on Metro-North and in Connecticut. Wasting one important corridor slot for a handful (at best) of passengers can pass through New York without changing trains makes little or no sense. Noel Weaver


Noel is correct the swing bridge replacements on MNRR will tie up that track for years often tracks down to 2 tracks by the bridges. As well the 39 train limit in CT will keep trains full as the NHV <> BOS trains around Thanksgiving are already selling out.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby OrangeGrove » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:13 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:Restoring the Broadway Limited of the past makes absolutely NO SENSE to me nor to anybody else who believes in common sense.


Nice straw man. Of course, just because we shouldn't recreate the past doesn't in any way mean modern passenger rail doesn't have a place in the Northeast to Chicago market. Indeed, overnight service is arguably more marketable here than many other places; The distances and travel times aren't excessive between major travel markets with good rail service at both ends.
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby bdawe » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:23 pm

Let's put emphasis on the word modern

Modern intercity passenger service of that sort of distance is going to a be a train that goes fast enough that it doesn't substantially resemble the Broadway Limited
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby OrangeGrove » Tue Oct 24, 2017 5:43 pm

Modern should be the emphasis, yes; We're not advocating for a rolling Broadway Limited museum, that is correct. However, at the same time anything beyond "faster" conventional passenger rail service is a pipedream (at best). There is a definite place for such conventional passenger service between Chicago and the Northeast (note the Capitol and Lake Shore Limited) .
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Re: Amtrak Expansion Plan

Postby east point » Tue Oct 24, 2017 6:56 pm

A very difficult subject with many branches of need. Each one is subject to delays by various groups such as NIMBYs, Amtrak haters, Auto and airline interests, congressional grid lock, persons who want to kick the probable increase in ridership down the can, HSR benefit deniers, and so on. IMO you can broadly define what is needed as --------------------
1. A change in the US law to get RRs back into their common carriage responsibilities for passenger trains. Also increase class 4 track MAS for passenger trains especially PTC but non PTC as well. Get rid of 750 mile rule between states. Instate ? ?
Money for ------
2. More rolling stock to first fatten out present trains which will decrease present train operating losses.
3. More rolling stock to initiate additional service on present routes including getting all trains daily.
4. Upgrade or new all bridges and tunnels separately from #5.
5. necessary ROW and track improvements for faster speeds both NEC and other routes.
6. More rolling stock for new Routes each will increase cross connections to present trains as #3 will do as well.
7. Expanded yards for the above additional rolling stock.
8. Additional commissaries to allow more space in LD train diners.
All the above not necessary in the order but all this thread's proposals could be met.
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