Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc.

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electricron
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by electricron » Fri Jun 29, 2018 9:41 pm

There are several alternate routes that could replace the Chief.
(1) The BNSF transon via Amarillo
(2) Resume the Desert Wind via Las Vegas
(3) Make the extended Texas Eagle a daily train via El Paso.
When the existing Chief turns east at Barstow instead of continuing northeast it misses a large tourist city called Las Vegas. Kansas City to Chicago is already served by the River Runner and subsidized by Missouri. There's no need to run the Chief east of KC, and Kansas should subsidize a train westward - how about subsiding an extended Heartland Flyer towards Wichita and OKC?

Colorado should be subsidizng a train from Denver to Pubelo along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains instead of subsiding a segment of the Chief within Colorado. Riders in southern Colorado can take the regional day train to Denver to catch the Zephyr to Oakland or Chicago.

I've written this before in this thread, don't get stuck on what is and look at what could be better in the very near future instead.

David Benton
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by David Benton » Sat Jun 30, 2018 3:55 am

I tend to agree with Ron, it would be a shame to lose the SWC route in full, but if they can keep the same train miles , it could actually draw more riders.
The SWC could be made a daylite service from L.A to Flagstaff , arriving late evening in Flagstaff. I would continue it overnite to ALB. Bus connections from there to Newton and Denver. Connect to The Zephyr in Denver, To a CHicago -OKC train at Newton.
This would allow either a bus or connecting train to Los Vegas, the original Desert Wind left Los Vegas at 7.am , few would be awake after a nite on the town.
My proviso would be that the buses would have to be Amtrak Thruways exclusively , no shared Greyhound service style replacements.
You could end up with a more useful hub and spoke service in the west, the drawback been that some of the spokes will be buses.
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eolesen
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by eolesen » Sat Jun 30, 2018 2:20 pm

I've got to laugh a bit that the current threats against the LDT's are all about playing politics. That's not Anderson's style.

The issues with the SWC are well detailed in a separate thread ( viewtopic.php?f=46&t=93631" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false; ) that's been going here since 2012. BNSF made the offer to move the route in 2010, and Amtrak screwed up by not taking them up on the offer then.

gokeefe
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by gokeefe » Sat Jun 30, 2018 7:50 pm

I would have agreed completely if it weren't for two things. First, Amtrak history with the Southwest Chief reroute which most certainly did go political when they agreed to continue in the route once grants were secured even though the Transcon was clearly the better operational option (and still is). By offering deadlines for states to obtain funds they showed their hand.

Second, Anderson's hardball tactics regarding PTC which yet again traded on his airline executive reputation but then were rapidly walked back. That was clearly due to political pressure and the manner in which the aftermath was handled made that very clear.

There's also a third example ... Despite opposition from the White House that picked him he's still finding a way to take Gateway funding. This clearly indicates collaboration with parties on the other side of the issue which is a significant political play in of itself.
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ryanov
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by ryanov » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:05 am

I'd love to believe that these things are an attempt to jab the various beehives in order to garner more support for Amtrak. On the other hand, I'm still going to be looking forlornly at some yogurt for breakfast on the way to Chicago in a couple of weeks, so... maybe not.
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ConstanceR46
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by ConstanceR46 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 12:35 am

if he's playing politics to get us gateway i will get a full-sized cutout of him and bring it to prom

ryanov
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by ryanov » Sun Jul 01, 2018 1:17 am

That's a thing I don't need him to do. Faced with the crippling blow it will inflict on the country, I expect that everyone will come to their senses.
|=| R. Novosielski |=|

Philly Amtrak Fan
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by Philly Amtrak Fan » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:01 am

electricron wrote:There are several alternate routes that could replace the Chief.
(1) The BNSF transon via Amarillo
(2) Resume the Desert Wind via Las Vegas
(3) Make the extended Texas Eagle a daily train via El Paso.
When the existing Chief turns east at Barstow instead of continuing northeast it misses a large tourist city called Las Vegas. Kansas City to Chicago is already served by the River Runner and subsidized by Missouri. There's no need to run the Chief east of KC, and Kansas should subsidize a train westward - how about subsiding an extended Heartland Flyer towards Wichita and OKC?

Colorado should be subsidizng a train from Denver to Pubelo along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains instead of subsiding a segment of the Chief within Colorado. Riders in southern Colorado can take the regional day train to Denver to catch the Zephyr to Oakland or Chicago.

I've written this before in this thread, don't get stuck on what is and look at what could be better in the very near future instead.
I'm all in favor for (1) or (2). I'm not a fan of (3) replacing the SWC, it would just be too long. My assumption would be Amarillo would be comparable in time to the current SWC but you lose Albuquerque which could hurt ridership. If you use the DW route you would have Vegas to more than make up for it and you can run through cars off the CZ up to SLC which would save you a lot of money. On the other hand it would take a lot longer than the current SWC but still a lot less time than the TE. I'd be happy with it over no CHI-LAX train or just the TE or just a daily TE.

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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by Gilbert B Norman » Sun Jul 01, 2018 8:38 am

ryanov wrote:That's a thing I don't need him to do. Faced with the crippling blow it will inflict on the country, I expect that everyone will come to their senses.
Mr. Novosielski, the only "crippling blow" to be inflicted should all LD routes be discontinued will be to those who ride trains for "experiential" reasons. That of course means a lot of folk who participate at this and other passenger rail discussion sites.

There is no community on the Amtrak system inaccessible by highway; same of course cannot be said of Alaska, Canada, Russia, China, and of course others where rail represents the only way in or out. There are of course some folk who ride the LD trains for other than "experiential" reasons. There are the "can't drives", and a few who cannot fly account medical reasons. But the arguments of "I don't like flying or driving" simply do not justify $300M (Amtrak likes to say $700M) of taxpayer funds expended as well as the interference such trains cause to freight operations.

Being in the industry on A-Day, I assure you the washroom walls heard the intent was to have the LD trains gone by, say, 1976. That incidentally was the date that roads choosing not to join Amtrak could have petitioned regulatory authorities to discontinue their services. The 1979 Carter Cuts were the first step in an orderly discontinuance of the trains, as no end point having service lost such.

So I have no idea to what extent the apparent Anderson initiative to "whack 'em all" will be successful. I think he is of thought that funding for "the stuff that counts" i.e. reequipping, track and signaling upgrades, the Gateway project (to the extent such is REALLY an Amtrak project), creating the "Safety Culture" he enjoyed during his airline years, and seeking other economies and efficiencies about the System. As others have noted, Amtrak is a passenger transportation provider. Even if the need for funding to move trains over the road is reduced, the needs of infrastructure will never be satisfied. I'm certain that Anderson is of thought that if he shows an economic and efficient passenger railroad, the record levels of funding will continue.

jp1822
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by jp1822 » Sun Jul 01, 2018 5:56 pm

Not sure if this would serve a purpose or not serve a purpose. And I am merely spit-balling on this one.

I only mention this as a potential "option" to appease the "don't want to drive" and "don't want to fly" crowd........along with the allowance of Amtrak still being able to say there's a "national network/connectivity"

If one were to draw a line through the center of the United States (the "lower 48") it would roughly follow the route of two major long distance trains - Capitol Limited and CA Zephyr.

To Mr. Norman's point - if Anderson shows a more efficient Amtrak, despite the axing of LD trains, or exchanging them for corridors, greater funding levels would be sustained.

Thus, for argument's sake, should Amtrak consider a main east-west route across the country say - Washington DC to Chicago (Capitol Limited) and then Chicago to Emeryville (San Fransisco Bay Area).

- It's a "strong" route for the tourist and experience traveler (e.g. US version of the "Canadian)"
- It would potentially be a "half-way" option for the "don't want to drive/fly crowd"
- It at minimum connects some major cities on the route's line directly to fill the train (Chicago - Denver; Denver - Salt Lake; Reno - Sacramento).
- Corridors originate/terminate/run-through at Washington DC, Chicago, front range corridors out of Denver, and then the West Coast corridors out of the Bay Area.
- Still preserves a "national" system (in name per say) but more importantly provides a way to shuttle equipment back and forth from coast to coast.

Yes, I know this may look like the Mercer Consulting plan to a degree, but considering LD trains are likely entering their twilight years, is this the compromise - and truly run it with different service options onboard from sit down hot meal service to box meals to coach to sleeper. More cars could be utilized to try to bring more revenue to this sole east-west LD train. Corridors developed within Amtrak, but most may be able to connect to this basic east-west route. West Coast and East Coast would certainly be different from what's laid out in between, except the corridors that spin out from Chicago.

Again, a thought that has been circulating in my head after hearing things about the SWC and "developing corridors" and "dismantling LD network."

jstolberg
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by jstolberg » Sun Jul 01, 2018 7:37 pm

electricron wrote:There are several alternate routes that could replace the Chief.
(1) The BNSF transon via Amarillo
(2) Resume the Desert Wind via Las Vegas
(3) Make the extended Texas Eagle a daily train via El Paso.
When the existing Chief turns east at Barstow instead of continuing northeast it misses a large tourist city called Las Vegas. Kansas City to Chicago is already served by the River Runner and subsidized by Missouri. There's no need to run the Chief east of KC, and Kansas should subsidize a train westward - how about subsiding an extended Heartland Flyer towards Wichita and OKC?

Colorado should be subsidizng a train from Denver to Pubelo along the eastern edge of the Rocky Mountains instead of subsiding a segment of the Chief within Colorado. Riders in southern Colorado can take the regional day train to Denver to catch the Zephyr to Oakland or Chicago.

I've written this before in this thread, don't get stuck on what is and look at what could be better in the very near future instead.
To take your suggestion, an alternative to the Chief would be a route from Denver to Pueblo to LA. Xcel Energy is going to be closing a couple of coal burning power plants which should free up some track time on the BNSF south of Denver.

ryanov
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by ryanov » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:12 am

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
ryanov wrote:That's a thing I don't need him to do. Faced with the crippling blow it will inflict on the country, I expect that everyone will come to their senses.
Mr. Novosielski, the only "crippling blow" to be inflicted should all LD routes be discontinued will be to those who ride trains for "experiential" reasons. That of course means a lot of folk who participate at this and other passenger rail discussion sites.
Comment was about cashing in the Long Distance network or whatever else to get us the Gateway Tunnel. I am pretty sure that the huge potential impact to the country will ultimately get us a [late] Gateway Tunnel without that sort of help.
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by mtuandrew » Mon Jul 02, 2018 12:41 am

jp1822: that isn’t a far-fetched idea, but you’d have some resistance from host railroads who would now be hosting service on new line segments, for shorter hauls, instead of carrying a passenger train along the length of their networks east-west or north-south. You also wouldn’t solve the Raton Pass problem if you ran Amtrak service from a Denver hub.

The old Santa Fe main is less important as a current east-west passenger route as it is a future north-south route (the oft-proposed Front Range Flyer DEN-ABQ-ELP.)

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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by gokeefe » Mon Jul 02, 2018 8:43 am

jp1822 wrote:I only mention this as a potential "option" to appease the "don't want to drive" and "don't want to fly" crowd........along with the allowance of Amtrak still being able to say there's a "national network/connectivity"
It's a nearly irrelevant point for Amtrak to make because the cross continent travel demand is so low. They proposed something similar before branded as the National Limited I believe. I think that one was through sleepers on the Crescent and then all the way through to Los Angeles on the Sunset Limited.
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Nasadowsk
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Re: Anderson possible changes: Dismantling LD, Corridor, Etc

Post by Nasadowsk » Mon Jul 02, 2018 4:23 pm

Gilbert B Norman wrote:
Mr. Novosielski, the only "crippling blow" to be inflicted should all LD routes be discontinued will be to those who ride trains for "experiential" reasons. That of course means a lot of folk who participate at this and other passenger rail discussion sites.
I wonder if that's also the case in Europe. A quick look suggests that Nightjet prices are basically 'give away' prices. I suspect sooner or later OBB will toss in the towel, and I suspect that'll be 'sooner'.

Last time I went Munich to Amsterdam, the time comparison made Cityhopper a no brainer. Never mind the price. Europe is full of cheap air travel, maybe even more so than the US.

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