Cardinal Reschedule

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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby lirrelectrician » Sun Feb 17, 2019 12:14 am

Hello all,
What about a complete reversal of the schedule. Lets say leave NYP at 545pm. Would get to Charleston at 734am. Cincy at 1236pm. Inday at 5pm and Chicago 905pm. Reverse, leave Chicago at 645am. cincy at 427pm. Charleston at 921pm. etc. Would give daytime service from Charleston to Chicago. Middle of the night through Charlottsville. Plus make train daily.

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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby Philly Amtrak Fan » Sun Feb 17, 2019 7:34 am

Charlottesville currently has the 2nd highest ridership among Cardinal stations behind Chicago, I wouldn't want to put them in the graveyard shift either.

I'm also not a fan of "parking" the train overnight anywhere. Why make a horribly long trip even longer?

This is the schedule I had in mind.
Rescheduled Daily Cardinal April 2016.pdf
(138.6 KiB) Downloaded 57 times


The train could leave NYP a lot later than 6:45am in the morning westbound and arrive a lot earlier than 9:58am eastbound.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Feb 17, 2019 8:16 am

Gotta admit, Philly AF, I like that schedule in terms of connectivity. It’s horrible for sightseeing and for West Virginia - and we all know you have thoughts on Amtrak service to WV - but does make the Cardinal useful for the larger population centers. It also misses the worst of rush hour commuter rail both ways in all major cities.

One more reason that West Virginia and Virginia need to work on a daily Regional (NYP-)WAS-CVS-CHW.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby Tadman » Sun Feb 17, 2019 2:36 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
One more reason that West Virginia and Virginia need to work on a daily Regional (NYP-)WAS-CVS-CHW.


That raises an interesting question: where do most West Virginians travel to? Put another way, if most Michigan people are going to Chicago or Detroit, and most Virginians are going between Tidewater, Richmond, and Washington, where is that travel pattern that makes sense for a WV regional train? I don't know that Cinci, Richmond, and DC are the answer.

This map linked below indicates three population centers: Morgantown in the north as a satellite of Pittsburgh and home to WV University, Harpers Ferry in the eastern tip as a satellite of DC/Norther VA, and Kanawha County in the center as its own center. The Cardinal connects none of the three centers, but does connect Kanawha County to DC and Cinci. The Capitol Limited connects Harpers to DC but so does MARC. And Morgantown stands alone, probably an hour drive to Pitt.

Is the Cardinal the true answer to WV transportation? It doesn't look like it. The Cardinal only really serves the center of the state.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby mtuandrew » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:07 pm

Well, today Charleston-Yeager Airport (KCHW) lists five departures and four arrivals, one pair each for Philadelphia, Atlanta, Houston, and Charlotte (with two KCHW-KCLT departures instead of one.) Doesn’t exactly tell us much though, since those are all just hubs and could be service to anywhere, but I have a feeling the KPHL travelers are going to New York and New Jersey at least as much as Pennsylvania, and the KHOU travelers to the mountain west and Pacific coast.

If we want to look at the WV road network instead, it points to Charlotte, Greensboro & Raleigh NC, Lexington KY, Pittsburgh PA, Cleveland OH, and Richmond & Hampton Roads VA. Surprisingly, access to Cincinnati OH and Indianapolis IN is fairly indirect, and likewise toward Washington DC (though I bet those are still major destinations.)
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby lirrelectrician » Sun Feb 17, 2019 3:10 pm

Philly Amtrak Fan wrote:Charlottesville currently has the 2nd highest ridership among Cardinal stations behind Chicago, I wouldn't want to put them in the graveyard shift either.

I'm also not a fan of "parking" the train overnight anywhere. Why make a horribly long trip even longer?

This is the schedule I had in mind.
Rescheduled Daily Cardinal April 2016.pdf


The train could leave NYP a lot later than 6:45am in the morning westbound and arrive a lot earlier than 9:58am eastbound.


Keep in mind Charlottsville has other trains that stop there during the day. Plus I am sure there will be more Roanoke (Bristol?) trains in the future. Id rather see Charlottsville be put in the graveyard than Charleston or Huntington. But the train really needs to go daily no matter what schedule it is on.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 17, 2019 4:41 pm

It would be very nice if the Cardinal can operate 7 days a week. I'm sure that many of the towns that it serves has little or no intercity bus service and people could use the train to travel to doctor's appointments in other towns along the route as well as maybe for business conferences in either DC, Charlottesville, Charleston, etc. I believe that on the Buckingham Branch, speeds were raised between Orange and Charlottesville so hopefully that has helped bring down the travel time somewhat.

In the end, unless if you really need to be in Charlottesville way before dinnertime, you are better off taking the Northeast Regional or the Crescent.

Morgantown is an hour and twenty minutes from Pittsburgh. I'm not sure if somebody would want to involve the Cardinal for their trip to Morgantown as it is too far north of the Cardinal route.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby STrRedWolf » Sun Feb 17, 2019 5:20 pm

Tadman wrote:The Capitol Limited connects Harpers to DC but so does MARC.


MARC only connects Martinsburg, Duffields, and Harpers Ferry in rush-hour/rush-direction to DC. To be clear, that's three trains in the morning to DC, three back from DC in the afternoon/evening, and NOTHING ELSE.

I hardly consider that a proper connection.
"The last and final stop is BALTIMORE PENN STATION." I can has MARC V?
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Sun Feb 17, 2019 6:20 pm

While it's good that there is something in terms of passenger rail connecting Harpers Ferry, Duffields, and Martinsburg, the service isn't convenient at all, unless if you work in any of the cities in Montgomery County or the District. In fact, the service is very infrequent to begin with. Even taking 30 to DC and 29 back in one day isn't possible, especially if 30 is running very late.This summer, the Capitol Limited did very poorly with punctuality. If you are traveling to DC on MARC from any of the West Virginia Stations, you also have to get up very early. I don't know if there are actually many daily DC commuters from West Virginia who use MARC from the West Virginia stops. From Brunswick eastward, that's a different ball game.

Back to the Cardinal-there might be somebody who lives in and around DC who might need to attend a business meeting in Charlottesville or Charleston. They will probably have to end up spending the night though but at least, it would help if there was a daily Cardinal option. While you can make a daytrip from DC to Charlottesville on the Cardinal, you might not have as long as you think you might.

With the strong possibility of having an additional NE Regional train to the Blue Ridge Mountains, time will tell whether a person might have more options to CVS for daytrips. The capacity in the station building needs to be expanded too, in order to have more trains stopping there.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby zuckie13 » Sun Feb 17, 2019 9:17 pm

So if Amtrak does some of these proposed reschedules (like leaving later on the Westbound trip), how much ridership is lost when folks who want to see the New River Gorge don't ride since the train will be there after dark?

While this train provides important connections for the cities it serves, it will suffer if you make it less appealing to the tourists.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby Tadman » Mon Feb 18, 2019 1:40 pm

zuckie13 wrote:So if Amtrak does some of these proposed reschedules (like leaving later on the Westbound trip), how much ridership is lost when folks who want to see the New River Gorge don't ride since the train will be there after dark?

While this train provides important connections for the cities it serves, it will suffer if you make it less appealing to the tourists.


I think part of a rethink is to determine where the current and potential customer base is. If this train is about tourism, it's worth noting the Canadian and Rocky Mountaineer only run a few times per week. If its going to be about business or students, much more frequent service is required.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Feb 18, 2019 3:23 pm

If you want to serve both a tourist and a local market during daylight, the answer is to halve the train at Charleston (for the scenery and balanced time-to-destination) or Cincinnati (to give that large market connections to both NYP and CHI.) That could mean a virtual cut, like I suggested with my Slow Train River Cruise idea, an actual cut into two day trains.

To best answer the question of where/if to chop, both of you are correct that you need to know where most travelers from Cinci are going, and where most Charleston travelers go.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Mon Feb 18, 2019 5:10 pm

The Cardinal has great scenery but that is not the point in terms of whether to keep the train running in its timeslot or not. The point here is being able to transport people safely and quickly as possible although I'm not sure if speeds can be raised on a lot of the Cardinal route. I rode it in 2010 and from what I remember, it was a rather slow ride in WV and on a lot of the stretch of track between Dyer and Chicago. If the state and NS can do it all over, I'm sure that they would have built a connecting track from the NS Main onto the Buckingham Branch at CVS. That way from Culpepper to Charlottesville, it would be a faster ride than what it presently is on the Buckingham Branch between Orange and Charlottesville.

It seems that many people who use this train aren't traveling the entire route because it is obviously slower than taking the Capitol Limited. You probably have passengers traveling from any of the major population centers in the Northeast to stops in West Virginia, especially Charleston, and maybe stations in Kentucky. The people who are heading to Chicago on this train are probably boarding in CVS onward. I wouldn't be surprised if there aren't many people who use this train to any of the Ohio stations since it stops in the middle of the night and only operates a few days a week. There are probably many people who board the Cardinal in Indianapolis who are heading to a station north of there, especially Chicago. You still have to get up very early when boarding this train in Indianapolis when heading to Chicago as well as the Hoosier State. It's a slow ride from Indy to Chicago and the bus is faster and more convenient too.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:15 pm

I’m gonna push back and say the scenery does matter as a ridership draw, and further that no amount of retiming will change the fact that Amtrak doesn’t have Sightseer lounges on the Cardinal anymore. Without Viewliner lounges or Siemens Viaggio coaches with larger windows, this route can’t effectively attract riders who would ride specifically because of the New River Gorge scenery.
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Re: Cardinal Reschedule

Postby Arlington » Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:27 pm

I would expect a complete reinvention of ridership if CIN was actually served when people were awake.

Metro Cincinnati is literally TEN TIMES the size (2.2M) of metro Charlottesville (0.22M). As much as I'm a huge fan of CVS's ability to punch above it's weight, even allowing for its wealth, students, and NEC affinities, PGH, CIN and CLT are the "regional capitals" of the Appalachians and all should have better day service than they do.
Last edited by Arlington on Mon Feb 18, 2019 7:37 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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