Amtrak Palmetto Service

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Re: The New Silver Palmetto / Night Owl Proposal

Postby Greg Moore » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:48 pm

TomNelligan wrote:Aside from folks who won't change trains -- and in an age when flyers are very accustomed to changing plane at hub airports I don't know how many of those there are -- I'm guessing that the current Boston-Florida service with a connection at Penn Station is adequate for most of the rail travel market. I did a Boston-Jacksonville round trip a few years ago via a New York connection to the Silver Meteor and the one-night schedule was very comfortable in both directions. As Mr. Norman has noted, if you're staying in a hotel it's not very convenient to get to your destination hours before your room is ready.


Part of the problem with the current setup isn't so much changing trains, as much as baggage. Amtrak needs to come up with a solution that allows folks in Boston to get their baggage on the train the same day as they get on the train. It's a real inconvenience to have to show up a day early to drop off baggage. Now, many people can fit it all in their carryons, but not everyone.

Also, while people may be accustomed to changing plans at airports, few like it.
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Re: The New Silver Palmetto / Night Owl Proposal

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:55 pm

Greg Moore wrote:Part of the problem with the current setup isn't so much changing trains, as much as baggage. Amtrak needs to come up with a solution that allows folks in Boston to get their baggage on the train the same day as they get on the train. It's a real inconvenience to have to show up a day early to drop off baggage. Now, many people can fit it all in their carryons, but not everyone.

Hence my proposal to add a baggage car to the first regional after 67, and the last regional before 66. That also provides a connecting train for passengers downbound from Boston or thereabouts, if they choose not to take the Acela. There'd be no need for a connecting sleeper if the Silver Service trains arrive in the late afternoon or early evening, since one could make it to Boston before lights-out.
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Re: The New Silver Palmetto / Night Owl Proposal

Postby ThirdRail7 » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:47 pm

Along with the other pitfalls people have mentioned, I'll throw these into the mix:

What's your plan for the Newport news passengers? 66/67 carry a good amount of travel to this area.

How do you plan to mix the needs of long distance passengers from Florida and the needs 66/67 fill on the corridor, particularly with OTP and reliability?
Last edited by ThirdRail7 on Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:39 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: The New Silver Palmetto / Night Owl Proposal

Postby Greg Moore » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:03 pm

mtuandrew wrote:
Greg Moore wrote:Part of the problem with the current setup isn't so much changing trains, as much as baggage. Amtrak needs to come up with a solution that allows folks in Boston to get their baggage on the train the same day as they get on the train. It's a real inconvenience to have to show up a day early to drop off baggage. Now, many people can fit it all in their carryons, but not everyone.

Hence my proposal to add a baggage car to the first regional after 67, and the last regional before 66. That also provides a connecting train for passengers downbound from Boston or thereabouts, if they choose not to take the Acela. There'd be no need for a connecting sleeper if the Silver Service trains arrive in the late afternoon or early evening, since one could make it to Boston before lights-out.


Right, and I think this is critical. Fortunately, the new Viewliner IIs will be able to operate at "full-speed" on the NEC so it's likely one will be able to see a baggage car on at least one more train.
(I'd also love to see the Ethan Allen and Adirondack get baggage cars).
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Re: The New Silver Palmetto / Night Owl Proposal

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Apr 23, 2012 5:34 pm

Greg Moore wrote:Right, and I think this is critical. Fortunately, the new Viewliner IIs will be able to operate at "full-speed" on the NEC so it's likely one will be able to see a baggage car on at least one more train.
(I'd also love to see the Ethan Allen and Adirondack get baggage cars).

I suppose that would be up to Vermont and New York, just as the Pennsylvanian would have to get funding from Pennsylvania for a baggage car. It would make sense for a few more Regionals to offer baggage service though, as well as all of the non-Regional day trains mentioned above.

Unfortunately, while the Silver Palm(etto)/Night Owl concept is great in theory, I think it's a little too ambitious with scheduling right now.
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All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Fri Apr 27, 2012 4:54 pm

Normally the Palmetto (and Pennsylvanian) run Amfleet II coaches with an Amfleet I cafe, but why is today's 89 all Amfleet I?
Since my friend continues to chain smoke nonstop, she is probably an Alco.
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby MACTRAXX » Fri Apr 27, 2012 7:14 pm

R36: This may have been an extra make-up train to protect #89's schedule NYP-WAS...
There are factors that contribute to moves like this like late equipment turns...

If you call 1-800-872-7245 (USA-RAIL) and bypass Julie for an Agent they may
be able to give you details about why they may have run a make-up train...

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EXPRESS TRAIN TO NEW YORK PENN STATION-NO JAMAICA ON THIS TRAIN-PLEASE STAND CLEAR OF THE CLOSING TRAIN DOORS
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby hi55us » Sun Apr 29, 2012 4:21 pm

Good day to upgrade to business class =)
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Thu May 10, 2012 8:58 pm

It happened again, at least on the following Friday. Wonder if this is a new assignment change.

Just thinking of how it would be to ride from NYP to Savannah in an Amfleet I coach...
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby 25Hz » Thu May 10, 2012 9:12 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:It happened again, at least on the following Friday. Wonder if this is a new assignment change.

Just thibking of how it would be to ride from NYP to Savannah in an Amfleet I coach...


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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby Noel Weaver » Fri May 11, 2012 9:02 am

I suspect the majority of the travel on this set of trains is not New York or even Washington to or from Savannah but rather it is between intermediate stations. I bet the average length of trip is somewhat similar to trips in the Northeast Corridor. It seems to me that Amfleet I equipment would generally be adequate for this train most times.
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby ThirdRail7 » Fri May 11, 2012 2:37 pm

R36 Combine Coach wrote:It happened again, at least on the following Friday. Wonder if this is a new assignment change.

Just thinking of how it would be to ride from NYP to Savannah in an Amfleet I coach...


We were kind of perplexed when we saw, so we looked deeper. Ummm....That's not 89. That's 79. I suspect the first picture is wrong too.
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby electricron » Fri May 11, 2012 2:45 pm

Noel Weaver wrote:I suspect the majority of the travel on this set of trains is not New York or even Washington to or from Savannah but rather it is between intermediate stations. I bet the average length of trip is somewhat similar to trips in the Northeast Corridor. It seems to me that Amfleet I equipment would generally be adequate for this train most times. Noel Weaver


You may be right, you may be wrong. Do you have any train specific data to back up your opinion? Here's the best data I can find. In general, not train specific, the average train ride on NEC trains is 174 miles, while the average train ride on Amtrak LD trains is 600 miles. That's a significant difference, and I might add the Palmetto is considered a LD train by Amtrak.

Sources:
A) The average long distance passenger travels over 600 miles.
http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/BlobServer?blobcol=urldata&blobtable=MungoBlobs&blobkey=id&blobwhere=1249222525867&blobheader=application%2Fpdf&blobheadername1=Content-disposition&blobheadervalue1=attachment;filename=Amtrak_Long_Distance_Trains.pdf

1) Amtrak’s Northeast Corridor (NEC) is the busiest railroad in North America, with more than 2,200 trains operating over some portion of the Washington-Boston route each day. More than a quarter of a million riders use the NEC on every weekday, generating more than 4.9 million daily passenger miles.
Math = 4,900,000 passenger miles / 250,000 passengers = 19.6 average miles traveled per passenger.
Note: This obviously includes commuting passengers using the corridor by MARC, SEPTA, NJT, MTA, SLE, and MBTA.
2) The Boston-New York-Washington portion of the Northeast Corridor carried 10,375,209 passengers in FY 2010 on Acela Express, Regional Service or other trains.
http://www.theenvironmentalblog.org/2011/09/amtrak-breaks-record-30-million-passengers/
To limit the numbers to just Amtrak, they can be derived from Amtrak's monthly reports.
For 2010 they are:
Acela - 610 million PM
Regional - 1,084 million PM
Keystone - 114 million PM
Total = 1.808 billion PM
Math = 1,808 million PM / 10,375,209 P = 174 average miles
Note: I probably figured this wrong, but it's the best data I can find and figure....

I suppose the true average distance passengers travel on the Palmetto is somewhere between 174 miles and 600 miles. But please don't assume the shorter travel distances associated with NEC trains pertains to it.

Surprisingly, I found a source, more of a blog, with data specifically for the Palmetto.
http://www.unitedrail.org/2011/06/27/the-business-and-politics-of-passenger-rail-2011-06-28/
The annual passenger count is 189,500, and the average length of trip is 450.2 miles.

450 miles isn't 600 miles, but it is much longer than 174 miles. Assuming an average speed around 50 mph, that 450 miles is 9 hours. The entire length the Palmetto travels is 829 miles. So 450 miles would be 54% of the total distance, about half way.
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby jp1822 » Fri May 11, 2012 5:30 pm

The Vermonter runs it 12+ hour route with Amfleet I's. Course I always try to book business class for the extra room. Although the train has turnover enroute, there are still many "Vermonters" who travel from northern Vermont all the way to Washington DC or nearly so. And then passengers have to sit through the directional change at Palmer Jct.

The Adirondack, up until a few years ago, also operated over its entire route with Amfleet 1's. I rode this train more often when it had either the Turboliners, special refurbished Heritage Adirondack coaches, or an ex-Amfleet Metroliner train set. During David Gunn's administration it got saddled with the Amfleet 1's, which were horrible with the slit windows and lack of legroom on such a great and scenic route. I only returned to riding the Adirondack after the Amfleet II's were put on during Kumant's administration of Amtrak.
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Re: All Amfleet I Palmetto

Postby electricron » Sat May 12, 2012 1:20 pm

jp1822 wrote:The Vermonter runs it 12+ hour route with Amfleet I's. Course I always try to book business class for the extra room. Although the train has turnover enroute, there are still many "Vermonters" who travel from northern Vermont all the way to Washington DC or nearly so. And then passengers have to sit through the directional change at Palmer Jct.

True, 12 hours with Amfleet I's must be very discomfortable. But how far does the average rider travel on both those trains? Do some only ride to Albany, from the north or south?
NYC to Montreal is 381 track miles per Amtrak's timetable. NYC to Rutland is 241 track miles per Amtrak's timetable. Both are far shorter than the average travel distance of Palmetto passengers at 450 miles, much less than the entire distance of 829 track miles.
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