Amtrak Capitol Limited Thread

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expanding on a trip

Postby Noel Weaver » Sat Feb 11, 2006 11:12 pm

First of all the Cardinal does not go to Toledo and does not offer a decent
rail connection to Toledo either.
If you wish to expand on your trip to DC, I suggest you take a NEC train
to New York and take the Lake Shore back to Toledo. It is a beautiful ride
from New York to Albany and should all be in daylight too. West of Albany
you will travel through the Mohawk Valley which is also pretty decent but
through that area you will be on CSX.
Your trip on that train will likely be on decent time at least as far as Albany as you do not use a major main freight route until you get west of Schenectady.
You would also get an opportunity to experience the best part of Amtrak,
the Northeast Corridor with a decent electrically powered train over a busy
and interesting mainly passenger railroad. On train 49 the Lake Shore,
you will be literally on the river bank of the Hudson most of the way from
New York to Albany again over a busy mostly passenger railroad.
Have a good trip.
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Re: expanding on a trip

Postby crazy_nip » Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:17 am

Noel Weaver wrote:First of all the Cardinal does not go to Toledo and does not offer a decent
rail connection to Toledo either.


I didnt say it did, I was making a point about the most scenic washington to chicago train
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Re: expanding on a trip

Postby benltrain » Sun Feb 12, 2006 9:53 am

It's also the slowest. Slower than the Capitol Limited by at least 5 hours. And its Amfleet- Superliner trains are in my opinion a better ride when you need to sleep in coach. But, viewliner sleepers are better.
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Postby JimBoylan » Mon Feb 13, 2006 3:17 pm

Fares between endpoints, both coach and sleeper, are often the same on the "Cardinal" and "Lake Shore" or "Capital". Because the "Cardinal" takes longer, sleeper may get 1 or 2 more free meals.
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Kill the Capitol Limited? - Uh "Not so Fast"

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:03 pm

I have my difficulties accepting any proposal to kill the Capitol Limited presently set forth at an unrelated topic if for no reason other that it is an employee "jitney' between Corporate HQ and the largest off-Corridor facility.

Seems that "early on" Amtrak got themselves in the wringer when during 1972 a Chicago Sun Times investigative reporter disclosed that all too many Amtrak employees were 'on Big Bird" between Wash and Chi. The disclosure caused a "mite bit of a fruck fruck" and resulted in an Amtrak Business Travel policy statement delineating that "rail travel will be used whenever possible".

Now I'm mindful that there are needs to fly such as for attendance at a 10AM meeting next morning - the "Cap" simply will not do the trick. But there is still need for employee travel for which rail is perfectly suitable and with cell phones and lap tops, the travel time need not be lost time.

Killing the Capitol Limited could open a can of worms again and send Amtrak where I don't think they want to go.

Related discussion: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewtopic.php?t=29239
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Kill the Capitol Limited? - Uh "Not so Fast"

Postby amtk136west » Thu Sep 14, 2006 5:45 pm

Yeah I have trouble with the idea as well. As you state there are almost always employees going to and fro, and there are always a lot of passengers on that train. I also just checked the Amtrak website and I am still able to book space on 29/30 in March and April.
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Postby Tadman » Thu Sep 14, 2006 6:09 pm

Wasn't the cap refitted about five years ago? I know the accounting business models don't last that long, but I find it hard to believe they'd 86 a nicer train in favor of the pokey little cardinal - my least-favorite Amtrak ride (not against it, just not for it).
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Capitol Limited

Postby jp1822 » Thu Sep 14, 2006 8:35 pm

I also have the same argument - the Capitol Limited is currently the fastest train to/from the East Coast and Midwest and has the best scheduling in my opinion. I still preferred when this train left at 5:35 p.m. from Washington DC (Westbound) but due to the Three Rivers discontinuance, the early departure was necessary to compensate for Pittsburgh connecting passengers.

The whole connection in Pittsburgh with the Pennsylvanian is something that could be worked on, but trading in the Capitol Limited for the Cardinal seems like a operating disaster waiting to happen. Remember, this is the only train that offers a same day connection to/from Midwest and the Carolinas/Florida, now that the Sunset Limited is truncated. And NARP has reminded Amtrak repeatedly how important the Capitol Limited is for connections to/from DC and southern destinations.

Capitol Limited - you can get nearly a day's worth of work in on the eastbound and arrive some time in the mid-morning hours in Chicago for continued vacation or work. Westbound, similiar situation, just a little later arrival into DC.

This "rumored" new NYC-Chiacgo train via Pittsburgh/Cleveland or even the Cardinal would just be a much longer trip for people travelling between Chicago/Midwest and Washington DC.

However, I think the Cardinal should be re-timed to allow better arrival/departure at Cincinatti, let alone be replaced with a Superliner fleet that terminates in DC. Cross platform change of trains for connection to NYC. Superliner train for the Cardinal would increase capacity for this train, which is often constantly sold out with its single level trainset - particularly the Viewliner. They could even make the Cardinal a mixed train since the Superliner Trans Dorm/Sleeper, in my opinion should be opened up to revenue passengers with the limited crew that now occupies the Trans Dorm/Sleeper. One can pass through the Trans Dorm/Sleeper to get from Superliner and Amfleet equipment etc.

As mentioned, there's more to be desired with the Pennsylvanian's connection with the Capitol Limited at Pittsburgh. I've even thrown around the idea that they could split this train at Pittsburgh with one section heading to DC and the other across the PRR mainline, even if it had to terminate in Harrisburg (some re-configuration would have to be done to get this train all the way through to terminate at Philly. With new Keystone electric service coming online, Harrsburg would be another cross the platform change, but at least it would be "timed" better, due to the number of Keystone trains that operate, as opposed to transfer at Pittsburgh.
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Postby Sam Damon » Thu Sep 14, 2006 9:23 pm

Perhaps what might do a lot of good would be a Cleveland-Chicago version of the Pennsylvanian?

What the Pennsylvanian has going for it right now are: reasonable daylight departure times at both ends; reasonable intermediate stops that connect places like Greensburg, PA with Harrisburg and Philadelphia, and a reasonable travel time. Keep in mind the Pennsylvanian started out as a 403(b) train because PennDOT was willing to stump up the cash.

Having daylight service on a CLE-CHI corridor might work, but admittedly it would probably be an uphill battle.

The times I've hung around Penn Station in Pittsburgh to greet #29, it seems to me between 75-100 passengers would get on, and about the same number would detrain.
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Re: Kill the Capitol Limited? - Uh "Not so Fast"

Postby x-press » Thu Sep 14, 2006 11:41 pm

If it's resurrected again, then the Broadway route must truly have nine lives. Amtrak has cancelled, resurrected, re-cancelled, and (apparently) may now be contemplating re-resurrecting it! Either there is ridership or there is not . . . why is this so hard?

From a ridership standpoint, it does look appealing. Surely towns like Lancaster, Harrisburg, Altoona and Johnstown have more ridership potential than Martinsburg, Harper's Ferry, and Connelsville (Cumberland might be a small exception).

Operationally, I've heard it suggested that an all-or-mostly- Norfolk Southern route would be an advantage. Trouble is, the Washington-Pittsburgh route is one of the few CSX routes I know that isn't a complete disaster, and Cleveland-CHI is one of the few NS routes that IS a disaster!

In the end, I think it's the equipment issue that causes the most trouble. Even if a NYP-PHI-CHI train was resurrected, how much capacity would it really have with no viewliners to spare? You could make it coach-only, but who would it then serve that isn't already served by a train with at least the same amenities?

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Postby David Benton » Fri Sep 15, 2006 1:20 am

how about combinig the capitol and lakeshore Ltd Chicago to Cleveland , in exchange for better ontime keeping from the host railroad . As far as onboard servidces go , they would be 2 seperate trains , a superliner and a low level section .
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Postby Jishnu » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:26 am

The schedule will have to be stretched out some because it will need to make double, triple and sometimes four stops at some stations. The combined train will probably not fit in the platform at even Toledo which is a service stop.
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Re: Kill the Capitol Limited? - Uh "Not so Fast"

Postby Jishnu » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:28 am

x-press wrote:If it's resurrected again, then the Broadway route must truly have nine lives. Amtrak has cancelled, resurrected, re-cancelled, and (apparently) may now be contemplating re-resurrecting it! Either there is ridership or there is not . . . why is this so hard?

I think in this case the more pressing issue at present is whether there are enough servicable cars available to form the necessary consists for running such a train. If it is run it will probably not do too badly, depending on how its schedule is setup.

The rumored swaps immediately makes enough consists for three times a week service available, and I guess someone thinks that there are enough spares to find the cars for the additional consists needed to make it daily.

I think it would be very foolish to do this if it is not a net revenue gainer. OTOH the idea of a day train from PIT to CHI via Cleveland has some considerable appeal I think, and it does not need any Viewliners, which are a scarce resource.
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Postby LI Loco » Fri Sep 15, 2006 9:02 pm

David Benton wrote:how about combinig the capitol and lakeshore Ltd Chicago to Cleveland , in exchange for better ontime keeping from the host railroad . As far as onboard servidces go , they would be 2 seperate trains , a superliner and a low level section .


Originally, the Capitol Ltd. was combined with the Broadway Limited at Pittsburgh. When I rode in 1982, the combined train exceeded 20 cars in length. Kind of unwieldy, IMHO.
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Capitol Limited

Postby jp1822 » Fri Sep 15, 2006 10:35 pm

I still think that is the best option - split the Capitol Limited at Pittsburgh. But now, we have a Superliner Capitol Limited and a Single Level Pennsylvanian. What Amtrak did do at one time was tack the Superliner Trans/Dorm Sleeper onto the back of the train and forward two Amfleets from the Pennsylvanian to the Capitol Limited. At the same time, a daily Pittsburgh to NYP second train frequency should be established, in addition to the Pennsylvanian. They could also carve out a second frequency by splitting the Superliner Capitol Limited and run it to Harrisburg (i.e. like the Empire Builder splits at Spokane), with connection there to East Coast destinations, now that the Keystone line is being returned to all electric train service - and more frequent/express options etc.

Don't a large majority of Capitol Limited riders really ride end point to end point - that is Chicago to Washington DC. This is one of few trains that I think has terminal to terminal market. Granted, Pittsburgh is likely the second biggest on/off station for the Capitol Limited, but the timing of the Cap serving Pittsburgh is not too passenger friendly at present. Hence a split (and hold at Pittsburgh until 7:30 a.m.) may be workable. Course the question is - what equipment would the Capitol Limited split - perhaps 2 Suplerliner coaches, one of which could be a snack coach and a Superliner Trans/Dorm for operating completely in revenue service. I don't know - just a thought for trying to carve out a second frequency west of Harrisburg to Pittsburgh with what equipment currently exists.
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