Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

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

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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Sat Feb 24, 2018 8:03 pm

JimBoylan wrote:
electricron wrote:it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range.
I thihk that 70 m.p.h. is its maximim speed now.

70 on the ACL; 65 on the RF&P
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Sat Feb 24, 2018 10:40 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
JimBoylan wrote:
electricron wrote:it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range.
I thihk that 70 m.p.h. is its maximim speed now.

70 on the ACL; 65 on the RF&P

Never-the-less, it will still have to gain speed to gain range! If speed gains are impossible, range gains are too.

That's is, short of adding train sets to the service. That will require twice as many Superliners and Auto Racks. It survives today with just two train sets because it's speed and distance traveled allows loading and unloading vehicles at both ends with just sufficient time left over to get back on schedule if it arrives late. Add just 100 miles to its journey and the timing of everything falls apart. Which will require adding two more train sets - to what the Silver trains have today, which is four.
The problem with adding twice as many train sets to the Auto Train is that you double it's expenses without necessarily doubling its revenues, taking an almost even bottom line to far into the red as far as profits are concerned. There will still be one train leaving Florida every day, and one train leaving from the NEC - wherever it may be. But instead of two trains running there will be four trains running.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby leviramsey » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:23 pm

It may be worth keeping the running time the same but increasing the value of the highways bypassed by shifting to something like Philadelphia - Georgia (though getting autoracks (and by extension Superliners) over the Potomac might be a lot easier said than done). That might well justify higher fares than presently charged.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Feb 26, 2018 12:36 am

leviramsey wrote:It may be worth keeping the running time the same but increasing the value of the highways bypassed by shifting to something like Philadelphia - Georgia (though getting autoracks (and by extension Superliners) over the Potomac might be a lot easier said than done). That might well justify higher fares than presently charged.

We’ve been over and over this. The demand is probably there, the infrastructure is not.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Backshophoss » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:51 am

You are dealing with a post EHH CSX with the wreck in NC still a potential nightmare for their legal dept,they barely play well with Amtrak now.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Triaxle » Mon Feb 26, 2018 7:50 am

JimBoylan wrote:
electricron wrote:it will have to run faster than 79 mph for several hours to even gain range.
I thihk that 70 m.p.h. is its maximim speed now.


Rules are written by men, not inscribed by divine authority. I think the problem is more basic: Freight rail is economically viable, passenger outside the NEC isn't. Thus the RR wants more freight and less, preferable zero passenger traffic. Solution is for AMTK to buy or build their own RR, but this reveals that passenger traffic doesn't support a railroad over most routes. Simply buying 15 feet of ROW extension, moving some tracks and adding one Amtk exclusive set of rails per route would help them enormously, but that reveals the cost/benefit imbalance.

Perhaps an Auto Train that starts and ends at airports is the answer, but then we'd have to fix the miserable experience of flying, something our leadership has no intention of doing.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby David Benton » Mon Feb 26, 2018 2:24 pm

I think the best expansion opion is single level auto cars attached to the silver service trains.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Feb 26, 2018 3:10 pm

David Benton wrote:I think the best expansion opion is single level auto cars attached to the silver service trains.

Appreciate your commentary, but no. No one runs single-level auto carriers, so they'd have to be custom-built to fit through the B&P Tunnel and also to run at least at 110 mph. You'd also ruin a precious Silver Service train slot for no good reason, since CSX and NS would both demand big bucks to host a new Amtrak Auto Train.

If the new Baltimore tunnel fits gallery & Superliner-sized cars (a wise option regardless), and if the SEHSR ex-SAL rebuild and RF&P triple-tracking cuts an hour out of the schedule to Florida, and if Amtrak can get its auto carriers certified for >79 mph (a tall order itself), and if Amtrak can find a Lorton-sized piece of real estate with rail access and on the interstate (even if not immediately on the NEC), and if Amtrak and CSX can come to a reasonable money agreement or have CSX handle the cars for Amtrak at a reasonable rate & time, we can talk Auto Train extension to New Jersey. Anything short of PHL is frankly useless, since it's only ~3 hours drive between PHL and the south end of the Washington metro area.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Arlington » Mon Feb 26, 2018 4:07 pm

CSX just recently cancelled the public-private partnership (CSX-MdDOT-USDOT) that was going to rebuild its Howard St Tunnel through Baltimore for double stack. So that for now (Given the new Virginia Ave Tunnel double stack) CSX could only get Auto Train as far as the Inner Harbor in Baltimore, but not north of there.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby sullysullinburg » Mon Feb 26, 2018 6:17 pm

Can the whole train fit under 30th street? Not even sure is the Superliners can fit under there let alone the Auto-Racks. Someone mention it a bit ago but a smaller Auto-Rack able to do 110 for the NEC then MAS for the rest of the trip to Florida and using Viewliner equipment. Not sure how difficult it would be to make such cars but might be a possibility.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Return to Reading Company Olney Sta » Mon Feb 26, 2018 8:29 pm

sullysullinburg wrote:Can the whole train fit under 30th street? Not even sure is the Superliners can fit under there let alone the Auto-Racks. Someone mention it a bit ago but a smaller Auto-Rack able to do 110 for the NEC then MAS for the rest of the trip to Florida and using Viewliner equipment. Not sure how difficult it would be to make such cars but might be a possibility.


Somewhere back in the archives a number of years ago (may have been post discussing either National Train Day or possibly one of the political conventions in Philly - there was some unusual reason Superliners were there) it was mentioned that the catenary needed to be de-energized for the Superliners to be parked under 30th St. They did fit however - believe there may even have been picture or two posted. But de-energized catenary would preclude normal (electric powered) operation.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:00 pm

SHUTTLE.jpg
Of course it is done in Europe all the time.

Not saying it would be an easy implementation, but it is possible. Load cars and passengers in single level equipment in New Jersey and have the Silver Service trains pick the new mini Auto Train cars up (new siding to avoid conflicts) and drop the train cars off at a new (reactivated) Sanford Station which would have equipment and crews to do whatever switching would be necessary. Only the front of the train would need to access the platforms, so the mini Auto Train just goes along for the ride.

BTW - You do drive your own car on and off the train so the cost of that personnel is negligible.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:31 pm

Return to Reading Company Olney Sta wrote:Somewhere back in the archives a number of years ago (may have been post discussing either National Train Day or possibly one of the political conventions in Philly - there was some unusual reason Superliners were there) it was mentioned that the catenary needed to be de-energized for the Superliners to be parked under 30th St. They did fit however - believe there may even have been picture or two posted. But de-energized catenary would preclude normal (electric powered) operation.

There was an equipment display at 30th St Including Superliners. They were parked with deenergized catenary at a platform. Access to the equipment was through an Amfleet and a T-Dorm.

The other time was for Pope Francis' visit. The cars operated under energized catenary from Harrisburg but were parked in Penn Coach and used by Station and Mechanical employees as a "hotel" during the event.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby DutchRailnut » Mon Feb 26, 2018 9:36 pm

you will never see Auto train expanded, the freight railroads feel its their business and simply will not give ok for Amtrak to run semi freight on private freight carriers.
the same reason mail and small freight on Amtrak trains disappeared a few years back.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Mon Feb 26, 2018 10:08 pm

I totally concur, Mr. Railnut. While the Class I industry appears uninterested in handling titled vehicles (the "ship and fly" services use highway transportation; if rail is used it is through a forwarder), Amtrak "has a good thing going", so why tinker with it?

As I noted some time back in this topic "overnight is enough", and having my share of "way late AT's" over the years; trust me on this one: "arewethereyetitis" becomes quite endemic long about high noon.

If there is to be any expansion to East-West routes, my previously proposed suggestions would be Galesburg-Irondale (Denver), Galesburg-La Junta, and Albuquerque-San Bernardino with Auto Racks attached for those segments and passengers handled in line space.
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