HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Nov 14, 2018 9:13 am

benboston wrote:I think that Amazon could potentially run a Sunnyside Yards to Potomac Yards Amazon only two stop high-speed train.

A train running through Penn without stopping? That is an "out of the box". To my knowledge, there once was a Boston-NH-PRR-RFP-ACL-FEC-Miami train, The Vacationer, that did not handle passengers at Penn, but it still made a stop for engine and crew changes.

Further, there were special trains that did same. I can recall observing during August '63 specials for the "March on Washington" stopping for engine and crew . However, I am aware that in the Amtrak era, trains such as the Circus, have operated through Penn without stopping. I will also concede the possibility of same pre-Amtrak. But those were not exactly passenger trains, for circus trains have tariffs and are waybilled as freight.

benboston wrote:........and electrification of the Potomac Bridge.

Lest we forget, such is a "been there, done that". When Potomac Yard was a yard, as distinct from a "station" marked only with a sign, there was electrification from there, over the bridge, to connect with the PRR at Virginia Ave. I can recall compiliations of electrified mileage by railroad - and the R,F,&P was reported as having three miles of such.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby mtuandrew » Wed Nov 14, 2018 12:47 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
benboston wrote:........and electrification of the Potomac Bridge.

Lest we forget, such is a "been there, done that". When Potomac Yard was a yard, as distinct from a "station" marked only with a sign, there was electrification from there, over the bridge, to connect with the PRR at Virginia Ave. I can recall compiliations of electrified mileage by railroad - and the R,F,&P was reported as having three miles of such.

Many of the catenary supports are still there on the DC side too. That said, was the First Street Tunnel ever wired?

Wire to ALX wouldn’t be a bad idea, with a layover yard at Eisenhower & Telegraph next to WMATA Alexandria Yard. Ideally it’ll happen all the way to Richmond eventually, so this is a good start if CSX is willing to sell/lease two tracks of a four-track ROW.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby RRspatch » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:10 am

mtuandrew wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:
benboston wrote:........and electrification of the Potomac Bridge.

Lest we forget, such is a "been there, done that". When Potomac Yard was a yard, as distinct from a "station" marked only with a sign, there was electrification from there, over the bridge, to connect with the PRR at Virginia Ave. I can recall compiliations of electrified mileage by railroad - and the R,F,&P was reported as having three miles of such.

Many of the catenary supports are still there on the DC side too. That said, was the First Street Tunnel ever wired?

Wire to ALX wouldn’t be a bad idea, with a layover yard at Eisenhower & Telegraph next to WMATA Alexandria Yard. Ideally it’ll happen all the way to Richmond eventually, so this is a good start if CSX is willing to sell/lease two tracks of a four-track ROW.


No, the First street tunnel under Capital Hill was never wired. Judging from pictures I've seen of VRE gallery cars it would be a very tight fit if at all possible to string catenary through the tunnel. The PRR electrification to Potomac Yards split off of the corridor at Landover running through Anacostia and the Virginia Avenue Tunnel. Recently CSXT built two single track tunnels to replace the old PRR Virginia Avenue tunnel. The tunnels are high enough to run double stacks which CSXT plans to do. The problem is there are some bridges near L'Enfant plaza that will probably just clear double stacks but leave no room for catenary.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby gokeefe » Thu Nov 15, 2018 10:28 pm

Thank you Mr. Norman.for opening the floor on this topic.

Unlike others I feel there are clear implications for Amtrak especially when one considers the impending arrival of the Avelia Liberty trainsets which will allow increased frequencies of service and higher train capacity.

With regard to the airports security lines will remain long and cumbersome. I expect that both KDCA and KLGA will soon have new/additional non-stop service to KSEA. Beyond that small change I think overall the air mode will be irrelevant to travel between HQ2VA and HQ2NY.

I anticipate that in part as a result of this announcement that Amtrak's expected capacity gains will be largely sold out from Day 1 on the Acela. This means that the Northeast Regional service will continue to see ever increasing demand pressure.

Given all other factors currently in play I think the end is in sight for Amtrak's operating deficits. Possibly as soon as FY '23.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby eolesen » Thu Nov 15, 2018 11:58 pm

Amazon could just as easily run their own airline shuttle LGA-DCA. They already operate a contract fleet of 40 aircraft operated by Atlas and ATSG under the name Prime Air.

Time is money, so why spend time on the train when you can fly door to door on an Amazon plane already carrying Amazon packages between distribution centers?
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby benboston » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:24 am

eolesen wrote:Amazon could just as easily run their own airline shuttle LGA-DCA. They already operate a contract fleet of 40 aircraft operated by Atlas and ATSG under the name Prime Air.

Time is money, so why spend time on the train when you can fly door to door on an Amazon plane already carrying Amazon packages between distribution centers?


You can be very productive while on a train, and they can say that they are being good for the environment since the train is electric.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby mtuandrew » Fri Nov 16, 2018 9:57 am

Down here, VRE is talking about a modified Crystal City stop that could also serve KDCA and be accessible by Amtrak. Aside from the Metro-North Penn Station Access Study, has there been any push to install an Astoria/LGA stop for Amtrak?
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby andegold » Fri Nov 16, 2018 11:04 am

Can LGA even provide non-stop service to Seattle? Aren't their runways too short for planes with the weight of a full fuel tank? While it's easy enough to get to JFK these days via AirTrain it still takes longer to do so. I would think Amtrak would still have the advantage to DC over the air shuttles based on comfort and availability of tables for group discussions while on the move. Amtrak also will have an advantage for last minute travel - don't you need at least a 48 hour advance purchase to be able to take advantage of Pre-Check?
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby Station Aficionado » Fri Nov 16, 2018 12:09 pm

Query: what is the factual basis for the belief that there will be any significant amount of travel by Amazon employees between the two east coast offices? What is going to be the split in responsibilities such that lots of face to face meetings are required?

Related item: it’s going to be slow built to 25k jobs in DC—400 next year, an additional 1100 (IIRC) in 2020 and 10 years before they get “up to” 25k. [Edited to remove gratuitous comment.]
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby gokeefe » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:09 pm

Corporate travel for vendors etc who need to go there. That alone will see some significant volume. Beyond that it is simply impossible to believe that certain meetings won't be in person. Senior level executives etc. doing long range planning and/or corporate training.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby benboston » Fri Nov 16, 2018 7:15 pm

Station Aficionado wrote:Query: what is the factual basis for the belief that there will be any significant amount of travel by Amazon employees between the two east coast offices? What is going to be the split in responsibilities such that lots of face to face meetings are required?

Related item: it’s going to be slow built to 25k jobs in DC—400 next year, an additional 1100 (IIRC) in 2020 and 10 years before they get “up to” 25k. [Edited to remove gratuitous comment.]


I know someone who works at the Amazon offices in Cambridge, Ma and they travel to Seattle very frequently.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby Station Aficionado » Fri Nov 16, 2018 10:32 pm

In place of anecdotes, let’s try a thought experiment. Let’s assume that, on any given day, 1% of the Amazon workers in DC and NYC travel to the other city for work (and I’m going to suggest that’s a very generous assumption), then-at a level of 50,000 total employees-we’re talking about 500 travelers a day (250 in each direction) spread across all modes. Let’s assume that 100% of these travelers go by rail. At 30+ departures per day, we’re talking 8-10 additional riders per train. A positive? Yes. A game changer? No. Even if my assumption is only 1/2 or 1/3 of the number of Amazon and knock-on travelers, it doesn’t move the needle that much.

And I suggest anyone interested in this topic put the following search into Google: foxconn Wisconsin. While I don’t expect that Amazon will produce less than 25% of the promised jobs, I’ll take the under on 50,000. I’m sure Amazon is already thinking about automating as many of those jobs as possible.

Will Amazon have a huge impact locally? Sure (for good and ill-we already have an awful housing affordability problem in DC), and it will be a marginal positive for Amtrak. But we should try to maintain some contact with reality in assessing their impact.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby benboston » Sat Nov 17, 2018 10:14 am

I think that more than 1% of employees will go between the two per day. Also, the jobs being promised in NYC and Arlington aren't jobs that are easily automated. I believe that they are mostly programmers and other higher salary jobs.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:35 pm

Amtrak Media Relations welcomes HQ 1, HQ .5, and .5 to the world:

https://media.amtrak.com/2018/11/amtrak ... -virginia/
Last edited by Gilbert B Norman on Mon Nov 19, 2018 3:45 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: HQ2 - Amtrak "Up For It"?

Postby Literalman » Sun Nov 18, 2018 7:57 pm

There is no way [Metro] will be able to handle the numbers
at Crystal City: Last week's Alexandria (VA) Times had a story about the Amazon headquarters coming to Arlington (Crystal City). It quoted Stephanie Landrum, president and CEO of the Alexandria Economic Development Partnership, as saying that "Crystal City is down about 25,000 jobs from their peak about 15 years ago. In effect, Amazon just brings them back to where they used to be." Whether Metro can handle it, I don't know. Metro is also down from where it was about 15 years ago.

VRE is talking about a modified Crystal City stop that could also serve KDCA
I attended a VRE presentation about this, and I pointed out that a person can walk from the present VRE Crystal City station to the National Airport terminal in about 10 minutes (I have done it often enough). It involves walking on a paved trail, crossing a highway ramp, and cutting across a parking lot. In other words, it is an accidental connection, not intended or designed for pedestrians, and not ideal, but usable just the same. I said to the VRE people that any plan to officially serve National Airport should include a good pedestrian connection to the airport, and they said that how passengers got to the airport wasn't their concern. Their plans and design would end at the edge of the railroad right-of-way.
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