Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

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

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mtuandrew
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by mtuandrew »

Three things:
1) Well, we know the City of New Orleans used to be called the Panama Limited, and cruise lines do call at New Orleans...
2) Sounds like a good tie-in for Amtrak to finally shoehorn its way onto the FEC, and for the State of Florida to support it. "We need to plan for the throngs of tourists and visitors coming from Havana! *wink, wink*"
3) Along with 2, Amtrak should consider a Thruway to Key West if any of the Havana ferry lines run there. Just because a flight would be considerably quicker doesn't mean a flight would be nearly as cheap as ferry + bus + train.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Mr. Stephens, we must accept that a passenger ferry service to Cuba would originate at a port such as Miami rather than Key West. The infrastructure is simply not in place for the latter to be considered. Further, Amtrak is not positioning itself as the low cost alternative In any travel market It serves. The passenger and private auto ferries will leave from either Everglades or Miami, and Amtrak cannot expect to be a major player in such a market.

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TrainPhotos
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by TrainPhotos »

I don't even know why it took this long to begin the process of restoring diplomatic relations, or why some people are so violently anti-obama. I must be stupid or missing something. Oh well.
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electricron
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. Stephens, we must accept that a passenger ferry service to Cuba would originate at a port such as Miami rather than Key West. The infrastructure is simply not in place for the latter to be considered. Further, Amtrak is not positioning itself as the low cost alternative In any travel market It serves. The passenger and private auto ferries will leave from either Everglades or Miami, and Amtrak cannot expect to be a major player in such a market.
Regular ferries only travel around 15 knots on average, about the same speeds of cruise ships, although their max speeds could be over 20 knots. It's 199 nautical miles between Miami and Havana, so a ferry trip would probably take over 13 hours at 15 knots, or almost 10 hours at 20 knots. Key Largo, assuming a navigable ferry pier and huge parking lot could be built there, is approximately 50 miles closer, saving almost 3.5 hours elapse time at 15 knots, and 2.5 hours at 20 knots. Either way, it would be an all day or night trip. :( By the way, an all night trip would be perfect for the cruise industry. ;)

Faster ferries exist, the only place in America where very fast ferries were attempted failed mainly because of environmental issues of whale kills and injuries, i.e. Hawaii. I don't see very fast ferries ever becoming acceptable to most Americans. :( But assuming one could service this route, 30 knots would half the earlier 15 knots numbers, and 40 knots would half the 20 knots numbers I posted earlier. 40 knots in the open sea lane should average faster average speeds than automobiles in stop and go traffic one would find in the Keys. 30 knots might be a toss up. Miami could still be the preferred port for a very high speed ferry.

Ferries around the world work best where there's plenty of truck traffic. Freight is the key to successful ferry operations. In which case the slower speeds would be acceptable.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

http://cubakat.com/" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Ron, somebody is contemplating catamaran ferry service to Cuba. But as anyone who follows passenger rail affairs knows, dreams and reality have their divergent ways.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by TrainPhotos »

electricron wrote:
Gilbert B Norman wrote:Mr. Stephens, we must accept that a passenger ferry service to Cuba would originate at a port such as Miami rather than Key West. The infrastructure is simply not in place for the latter to be considered. Further, Amtrak is not positioning itself as the low cost alternative In any travel market It serves. The passenger and private auto ferries will leave from either Everglades or Miami, and Amtrak cannot expect to be a major player in such a market.
Regular ferries only travel around 15 knots on average, about the same speeds of cruise ships, although their max speeds could be over 20 knots. It's 199 nautical miles between Miami and Havana, so a ferry trip would probably take over 13 hours at 15 knots, or almost 10 hours at 20 knots. Key Largo, assuming a navigable ferry pier and huge parking lot could be built there, is approximately 50 miles closer, saving almost 3.5 hours elapse time at 15 knots, and 2.5 hours at 20 knots. Either way, it would be an all day or night trip. :( By the way, an all night trip would be perfect for the cruise industry. ;)

Faster ferries exist, the only place in America where very fast ferries were attempted failed mainly because of environmental issues of whale kills and injuries, i.e. Hawaii. I don't see very fast ferries ever becoming acceptable to most Americans. :( But assuming one could service this route, 30 knots would half the earlier 15 knots numbers, and 40 knots would half the 20 knots numbers I posted earlier. 40 knots in the open sea lane should average faster average speeds than automobiles in stop and go traffic one would find in the Keys. 30 knots might be a toss up. Miami could still be the preferred port for a very high speed ferry.

Ferries around the world work best where there's plenty of truck traffic. Freight is the key to successful ferry operations. In which case the slower speeds would be acceptable.
North sea ferries regularly have overnight/multi-day routes. The ferries are supplied with entertainment venues, eateries, even conference facilities and basic bunk berths for all on board. I can see truck ferries being popular as well. They could serve anywhere in the gulf from texas and around the coast up to georgia. I believe there was a rail ferry at some point that called at havana (links below for more info) that could be re-instated by some other shipping line.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seatrain_Lines" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ferrocarriles_de_Cuba" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I feel this has less to do with amtrak ridership, and more to do with the dynamic of the gulf state economies' interaction with cuba. That then would have some halo effect on amtrak operations.
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jonnhrr
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by jonnhrr »

A comparison could be made with the ferry from Portland ME to Yarmouth Nova Scotia which was recently reinstated as a "Cruise Ferry". The trip takes about 10 hours and runs overnight from Portland and returns in the daytime from Yarmouth. That would be comparable to the proposed Miami - Havana service.

One thing I noticed in the Portland - Yarmouth ferry is they seem to assume everyone will drive to the ferry terminal, perhaps Amtrak could work out something to promote the Downeaster as an alternative.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Gilbert B Norman »

Jon, at another site I visit, the same point was made that the Portland-Yarmouth ferry service is "autocentric". However, there is not much in the way of transportation at Yarmouth. As I recall at the topic, it was noted there was "one a day" bus service to Halifax.

Meanwhile, back at our topic:

http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xefd5a ... ilow_music" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by GWoodle »

jcpatten wrote:I guess I don't see it.

If someone can afford to fly from Cuba to Miami, chances are they can afford to fly further to their destination. Amtrak's Florida trains don't go all that many places in Florida. You have to get into North Carolina to get anywhere else on the Amtrak system. If they are taking a boat, then they are probably too poor to take Amtrak!

The Nashville Business paper is reporting on the prospect of flights from Nashville to Cuba via Miami. There may be other routes in competition from an International airport (O'Hare?) that could offer 1 stop service to Cuba depending on customs. The bags could be pre-screened and stay on the plane for the whole trip. There goes any hope for Amtrak.

Something that is needed is a HSR service that could stop at the international airport (O'Hare?) that could collect the passengers from Europe or Japan and get them to final destinations in the Midwest. I'm sure the executives at Nissan, Bridgestone/Firestone, etc would love a Nashville-Tokyo flight with ground Amtrak service to their factories, local office, etc.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by gokeefe »

GWoodle wrote:There goes any hope for Amtrak.
Way too soon for that conclusion....

Miami is effectively going from being a dead end in some senses to resuming its rightful place as a gateway to Latin America. There is going to be a rail angle and I think Amtrak may have an opportunity here.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Ridgefielder »

Gilbert B Norman wrote:But lest we forget, fifty years ago, air travel belonged to the elite; today to the masses offering all the amenities of a municipal mass transit ride. I foresee that as US-Cuba travel develops, which I think will be the case absent Marco or Ted "raising their rights" come Jan '17, the three 'hubbed" major airlines will offer service to MUHA from their Eastern and Southwestern hubs, while the "hubless" fourth will fly from "wherever".
Remember, though, Cuba is a big island. It's something like 700 miles long and 100 miles across. Seems reasonable to think that many people heading down there-- whether on vacation or to visit family-- might want to bring their cars along.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by electricron »

Ridgefielder wrote:Remember, though, Cuba is a big island. It's something like 700 miles long and 100 miles across. Seems reasonable to think that many people heading down there-- whether on vacation or to visit family-- might want to bring their cars along.
Eurasia is 100 times larger, yet there's no demand to bring a car along when vacationing there.

Hey, I'm heading for France, or India, or China - just to name a few countries - how do I get my car there? ;)

What do tourists do today when visiting other parts of the world with their family? Take public transit, rent a car, or ride in the car of the person or persons you're visiting. The same options will be available in Cuba. You don't have to pack your car and take it with you,

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by ExCon90 »

I've never been to Cuba, but I gather there's a perceptible difference between public transportation there and in Eurasia. Public transportation in Cuba may be more like what we're accustomed to in the US, where rented cars are a virtual necessity.

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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Hawaiitiki »

ExCon90 wrote:I've never been to Cuba, but I gather there's a perceptible difference between public transportation there and in Eurasia. Public transportation in Cuba may be more like what we're accustomed to in the US, where rented cars are a virtual necessity.
You are correct. The decrepitness of most of Cuba's public transportation is far below what is considered acceptable in the United States and even further below Europe and Japan. A Western tourist with even a slightly thin skin would be turned off pretty quick.

Crazy to think there was even a grandiose Moscow-style metro in the works for Havana until the wheels started to fall off communism.
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Re: Effect on Ridership of the Cuban American Thaw

Post by Ridgefielder »

electricron wrote:
Ridgefielder wrote:Remember, though, Cuba is a big island. It's something like 700 miles long and 100 miles across. Seems reasonable to think that many people heading down there-- whether on vacation or to visit family-- might want to bring their cars along.
Eurasia is 100 times larger, yet there's no demand to bring a car along when vacationing there.

Hey, I'm heading for France, or India, or China - just to name a few countries - how do I get my car there? ;)

What do tourists do today when visiting other parts of the world with their family? Take public transit, rent a car, or ride in the car of the person or persons you're visiting. The same options will be available in Cuba. You don't have to pack your car and take it with you,
Yes, but- the Atlantic and the Pacific are a lot wider than the Florida Straits. It's 220 miles from Miami to Havana: that's almost exactly the same as the distance from Hull to Rotterdam across the North Sea, a route that has a daily overnight sailing. And don't forget- once the ship is in international waters you can open the casino... I could definitely see this being a popular vacation concept-- board in Miami, stow your car in the hold, put your luggage in your cabin then head to the nightclub or go gamble away as you steam through the night toward Havana. :wink:

What I guess I don't see, though, is how it would tie into Amtrak, unfortunately. I don't think I'm going to be settling into my compartment on The Havana Special at Penn Station anytime soon. :-)

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