Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby electricron » Fri Dec 01, 2017 5:51 pm

Does anyone know the route mileage dc to Roanoke (or Roanoke to bristol)?

Per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgini ... e_Railroad
The rail miles between Lynchburg and Bristol was 204 miles.
Per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mountaineer_(train)
The rail miles between Lynchburg and Roanoke is 49 miles.
Per https://www.amtrak.com/content/dam/proj ... 090217.pdf
The rail miles between DC and Lynchburg is 173 miles.
So, DC to Roanoke should be 222 miles, and Roanoke to Bristol should be 155 miles.
That assumes all my math was correct.
I hope your questions were answered satisfactory!
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby east point » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:46 pm

removed
Last edited by east point on Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby east point » Sat Dec 02, 2017 2:49 pm

electricron wrote:
Does anyone know the route mileage dc to Roanoke (or Roanoke to bristol)?

Per https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virgini ... e_Railroad
The rail miles between Lynchburg and Bristol was 204 miles.
!


Electricron --- do you believe Wikipedia or maybe an old RR timetable ?. Here is a link to old Birmingham special timetable . Granted the possibility of a change in mileage is possible especially the stations in LYH and RNK.

http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/con ... 94112.html
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby electricron » Sun Dec 03, 2017 1:53 am

east point wrote:Electricron --- do you believe Wikipedia or maybe an old RR timetable ?. Here is a link to old Birmingham special timetable . Granted the possibility of a change in mileage is possible especially the stations in LYH and RNK.

http://www.streamlinerschedules.com/con ... 94112.html


I like old railroad timetables too, Per the Birmingham Special timetable you linked;
DC to Lynchburg was 172.5 miles (my earlier response was 173 miles)
DC to Roanoke was 224.9 miles (my earlier response was 222 miles)
DC to Bristol was 376.2 miles

Therefore, doing a little math;
Roanoke to Lynchburg is 52.4 miles (my earlier response was 49 miles)
Bristol to Lynchburg is 203.7 miles (my earlier response was 204 miles)

All the data points are within 4 miles of each other - and less than 4 miles variance over almost 400 miles is pretty close to being 1%. Not bad at all.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby Arlington » Fri Dec 15, 2017 10:03 am

Long article on Roanoke as a "Thriving Appalacian City" in CityLab
https://www.citylab.com/solutions/2017/ ... on/547589/
Mentions symbiotic relationship between revitalizing core and Amtrak station.
"Trying to solve congestion by making roadways wider is like trying to solve obesity by buying bigger pants."--Charles Marohn
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby Arlington » Sat Feb 03, 2018 12:14 pm

I'm going to try to tease out how the first 2 months of RNK service have gone by comparing September & October (without RNK in the LYH route numbers) to November & December (with RNK in the LYH route numbers).

First, let's look at LYH's FY2017 Farebox Recovery:
Amtrak Virginia
City $Cost $Tkt Farebox Recovery
LYH 8.8 12.5 142%
NPN 18.7 22.2 119%
NFK 9.1 9.1 100%
Ric 9.4 9.4 100%
=======================
Tot 46.0 53.2 116%

Then let's look at the Lynchburg route (it is still called that) month by month:

MONTHLY NUMBERS
Prd $Cost $Tkt RidrK Farebox Recovery
DEC 0.8 1.6 20 200%
NOV 0.8 1.5 20 188%
OCT 0.8 1.0 16 125%
Y17 0.7 1.0 16 142%

It seems like the new monthly cost of Roanoke service is $0.8m/month (versus $0.73m/month for all of 2017), and that the new Roanoke costs started to be applied to the route in October (maybe to pay for crew-qualifying runs?).

It also seems it is too early to draw any conclusions, other than that November (Thanksgiving) and December (Christmas/New Years) are two great months to be serving a college-town market.

Certainly, it is hard to see that Roanoke's economics have gotten any worse. In fact, if we wanted to be optimistic, there's evidence that the average trip from Roanoke is longer and higher $ than the average trip from Lynchburg, which needn't have been the case.


YTD Numbers upon which the numbers above are based:
YEAR TO DATE NUMBERS
Prd $Cost $Tkt RidrK Farebox Recovery
DEC 2.4 4.1 56
NOV 1.6 2.5 36
OCT 0.8 1.0 16
Y17 8.8 12.5 190 142%
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:00 am

Splitting it down even further than that I got 133 pax avg to/from RNK which means 66 per train. An entire full additional coach and a bus load plus (especially if you are talking about anything designed to accommodate regional travel).

For the first two months this is definitely a very strong result. This would imply RNK annual ridership at 40k++. That's very respectable for a location that hasn't seen service in decades. I'm very impressed.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby Arlington » Mon Feb 05, 2018 9:24 am

gokeefe wrote:Splitting it down even further than that I got 133 pax avg to/from RNK which means 66 per train. An entire full additional coach and a bus load plus (especially if you are talking about anything designed to accommodate regional travel).

For the first two months this is definitely a very strong result. This would imply RNK annual ridership at 40k++. That's very respectable for a location that hasn't seen service in decades. I'm very impressed.

Nice work. If it is 66 new pax per train, I'd take a total guess that some additional number who were formerly boarding at LYH (having bus-or-car'd it to get there) will have switched from LYH to RNK.

RNK ridership might be a mix of 66 purely-new and 40 diverted (a total guess) for annual ridership more like 65k? (with LYH falling 25k as these trips start at RNK)
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:22 pm

If true that would be an astounding figure for a location served only by a single train a day each way. There is a distinct possibility that LYH remains stable even as some passengers move southwest to RNK. If LYH was selling out and Amtrak has now re-allocated the seat blocks to better cover both LYH and RNK then there could very well be a net total increase between the two. I don't have a sense of whether or not LYH was selling out. I can tell you that given the similarities to the Downeaster it would not surprise me at all if LYH was in fact sold out on some days (if only because of expected passenger loads further north). The city pair figures once they are published after the first year will tell us a lot about what the route is doing. I am particularly intrigued by the possibility that RNK passengers are riding further than LYH. That is a surprising result. I would have expected RNK to be even more focused on WAS and points south. Top three for LYH currently is WAS, NYP and ALX. When you look at the city pair data you can actually see the ridership breakdown (42.7% for WAS, ALX and 38.2% for NYP).

For clarification and further discussion what does the Thruway plan look like right now? Is there now service from points west of RNK? I don't recall hearing about anything new being put in place. These initial results may also factor in to the Bristol study. Pretty hard for a consultant to ignore.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby Matt Johnson » Mon Feb 05, 2018 1:31 pm

Part of me says Bristol is asking a bit too much, so don't be like Alexander the Great reaching for India after conquering Persia! But then, as a Hokie, I'd love to see expansion of passenger rail service at least to the New River Valley. I think with decent bus connections to Roanoke though, Virginia Tech/Blacksburg (and maybe to a lesser degree Radford) are likely providing significant ridership demand even now, especially during the peak holiday travel periods.

Whether Bristol is a higher priority than, say, an east/west Norfolk - Roanoke link I don't know, but I understand that both figure into Virginia's long term vision for regional passenger rail.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby gokeefe » Mon Feb 05, 2018 2:39 pm

VA DRPT has been planning for a Bristol extension for quite some time and it is under active study right now. This isn't so much an opportunistic choice due to Roanoke and Lynchburg's seeming success as it is the execution of a deliberate and very long term vision that has had the unexpected good fortune of early success. You could say that in a way they are having trouble staying ahead of the ridership curve. This is an extraordinary position for them or any other sponsoring agency to be in.

I think the real problem is going to be figuring out what they can or will do ten years from now. The next steps once the Virginia Regional network is built out are not clear at all other than perhaps more trains to the same places.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby mtuandrew » Mon Feb 05, 2018 6:42 pm

Idle speculation: do any of you suppose NS would be willing to accept government help to make the ex-SOU a 90 mph route and lifting intermediate speed restrictions? PTC is either coming or installed, Virginia has indicated it wants at least 1 1/2 more frequencies (new Regional & daily Cardinal) and most freight goes over the Crescent Corridor via Harrisburg, so this route isn’t jammed.

All subject to a kinder USDOT of course; Secretary Chao may be willing to sign off & convince the Senate Majority Leader to do the same, but the potential difficulty lies further upstairs at 1600.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 06, 2018 12:35 am

If any Class I would go along with such a proposal it would be NS. The question then becomes how much will it cost to keep the tracks up to Class 5 standards? I'm not sure VA DRPT would want to pay for that on a lower density corridor. The former RF&P is another matter.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby mtuandrew » Tue Feb 06, 2018 11:33 am

gokeefe wrote:If any Class I would go along with such a proposal it would be NS. The question then becomes how much will it cost to keep the tracks up to Class 5 standards? I'm not sure VA DRPT would want to pay for that on a lower density corridor. The former RF&P is another matter.

Yeah, but the RF&P isn’t going to be such an easy line to get beyond even 70 mph, with CSX Precision Railroading ruling the day there. It’s really not a bad idea for Virginia to leave space for a rail line in any future I-95 rebuilds. Also, 5x/day is the threshold Michigan chose to upgrade the Michigan Central to 110 mph, so it isn’t out of the realm of possibility for Virginia to consider 4x in the effort to reach Bristol, Charlotte and points south & west with existing trains.
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Re: Lynchburg VA NE Regional (ext. to Roanoke and Bristol)

Postby gokeefe » Tue Feb 06, 2018 2:07 pm

I think VA is clearly at the point where additional Right of Way expansion on CSX/RF&P (beyond what is already planned) will be seriously considered.
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