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 bostontrainguy » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:09 pm

gokeefe wrote:And that is exactly why the train continues to be so successful. It is a practical means of transportation for people from "point A to point B".


So could it also be a practical means of transportation from point A around Chicago and point B around Albuquerque? That would be two trains on the Southwest Chief route which might justify keeping the route open. We've been talking about it for years but this would be a good time to give it a try.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby electricron » Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:32 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:
gokeefe wrote:And that is exactly why the train continues to be so successful. It is a practical means of transportation for people from "point A to point B".


So could it also be a practical means of transportation from point A around Chicago and point B around Albuquerque? That would be two trains on the Southwest Chief route which might justify keeping the route open. We've been talking about it for years but this would be a good time to give it a try.

Thje Auto Train doesn't run on tracks by itself, there's plenty of other trains using them too.
That's the problem with the Chief, there's no other trains using over 200 to 300 miles of its tracks. Even in England where there are many more passenger trains and willing passengers, they shutdown railroad corridors with little to no activity.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby BandA » Wed Jul 25, 2018 1:55 am

So Bostontrainguy is suggesting strapping some car carriers onto the chief & see what happens I believe.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby Gilbert B Norman » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:27 am

Again, allow me to reiterate that if Amtrak is looking for other markets in which to consider "Auto Train Service", i.e. carriers added to existing trains; passengers in line space, here are my picks:

Galesburg-La Junta
Galesburg-Denver/Irondale
Albuquerque-San Bernardino

Lest we forget, Auto-Train passengers are not there "for the ride" because they love the train riding experience. If not at destination by Noon, "arewethereyetitis" becomes quite endemic.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby bostontrainguy » Wed Jul 25, 2018 7:49 am

Well if I remember correctly, the original Auto-Train did their research correctly and found that the second most popular driving lane was the Midwest to Florida. Operational problems on that route proved very difficult however.

The Midwest to Southwest is often mentioned as another popular driving lane. Retiree "snowbirds" are a huge and growing market all over the country.

I am just wondering if a second successful Auto Train service over the Southwest Chief route would be enough to keep the route open.

A separate train would be the goal, but added a few auto carriers to the SWC would certainly be worth trying to test the market. It might just change everything if "Amtrak has plans for that route". Once that's gone, forget it.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby george matthews » Wed Jul 25, 2018 12:59 pm

electricron wrote:
bostontrainguy wrote:
gokeefe wrote:And that is exactly why the train continues to be so successful. It is a practical means of transportation for people from "point A to point B".


So could it also be a practical means of transportation from point A around Chicago and point B around Albuquerque? That would be two trains on the Southwest Chief route which might justify keeping the route open. We've been talking about it for years but this would be a good time to give it a try.

Thje Auto Train doesn't run on tracks by itself, there's plenty of other trains using them too.
That's the problem with the Chief, there's no other trains using over 200 to 300 miles of its tracks. Even in England where there are many more passenger trains and willing passengers, they shutdown railroad corridors with little to no activity.

There have been no 'shut-downs' for decades. Instead, numerous reopenings.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby hazmatmess » Sun Jul 29, 2018 10:58 am

ThirdRail7 wrote:You're currently +31" departing FLO. It is a weekend so you won't have to worry about VRE interference. If things hold, you'll have a nice, early arrival....which I probably just jinxed. :wink: Have an uneventful trip.


No jinx!! We got into Lorton at 8am. It was great! Hung out until the station crew completed their briefings. Car was off loaded at 855 and I was on 95 at 9am. Still got home at 1pm due to traffic on 95 BUT we beat the rain home and I was able to clean the car out before it started raining.


gokeefe wrote:
hazmatmess wrote:The kids are really enjoying the ride. And my wife is too. She’s surprised that it’s so nice. Time to get some rest.


Memories for a lifetime. Hope it's the start of a great family tradition.

Thanks for reminding all of us about what matters most in train travel.


It was a great start. We are planning to go back in two years and my wife said its the train. So many people who were on the train knew the conductors and attendants on a first name basis. I was amazed at that.


R&DB wrote:
hazmatmess » Fri Jul 20, 2018 11:16 pm


Hope everyone enjoyed the trip! We've ridden it three times round-trip. We liked it better in the '80s and '90s, but it is still Amtrak's best.


It really was a great ride. Made what could have been a sad ending (Which kid wants to go home after Disney) of a great trip a happy one.
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Kids are ready for bed. My daughter did not to be too adventurous and slept on the bottom bunk.
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Hanging out in the observation car before we depart Sanford.
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Kids are surprised as we pull up to the station in Sanford.
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Re: Amtrak Auto Train Discussion

Postby mmi16 » Sun Jul 29, 2018 1:34 pm

bostontrainguy wrote:Well if I remember correctly, the original Auto-Train did their research correctly and found that the second most popular driving lane was the Midwest to Florida. Operational problems on that route proved very difficult however.

The Midwest to Southwest is often mentioned as another popular driving lane. Retiree "snowbirds" are a huge and growing market all over the country.

I am just wondering if a second successful Auto Train service over the Southwest Chief route would be enough to keep the route open.

A separate train would be the goal, but added a few auto carriers to the SWC would certainly be worth trying to test the market. It might just change everything if "Amtrak has plans for that route". Once that's gone, forget it.

Adding autoracks to the SWC is not a big deal by itself - creating facilities for customers at the O-D - for people handling, automobile handling and railcar handling - that is considerable investment 'betting on the come'.
Never too old to have a happy childhood!
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