Amtrak NEC Virginia Regional Service

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

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realtype
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by realtype »

jp1822 wrote:If Amtrak got a little more serious with the Southeast High Speed Rail Corridor it would not only branch to Raleigh, NC, but continue down the Atlantic Coast Line whereby we'd have a high speed network of trains from say Miami to Boston. One could equally say the same for the West Coast - San Diego to Seattle. I just have hesitation believing anything will become of high speed rail beyond some "fixups" on the NEC. Many plans and suggestions have been made. Things seemed to get serious in the 1990s on paper, but nothing ever came to be.
The next high-speed corridor in the U.S. will undoubtedly be in California, and Florida soon afterwards (when the local politics finally warm up to it). The Southest Corridor probably won't be built anytime soon, due mostly to the conservative politics of the Southern states, the difficulty of preparing the ROW, and deciding which cities to serve (since there is much greater distance between them than in the NE, and they don't line up in a straight line like DC-Balt-Philly-NY-Bos).

george matthews
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by george matthews »

MudLake wrote:
george matthews wrote:
Trains magazine within the last year or so had an article on some major tunnels being dug in Switzerland to upgrade their rail system. I think what they're spending on those tunnels alone is more than the entire rail targetted stimulus package for the entire US. They take rail seriously.
One reason for those new base tunnels is to get large lorries off the roads. Switzerland wishes to tackle air pollution by taking road traffic through the country by train. The new tunnels will be big enough to carry lorries on trains. Switzerland is a major traffic route between Germany and Italy.
And a laudable goal that is. The St. Gotthard Tunnel is single lane each direction which strikes me as a rather horrific concept. The sooner they can get vehicles out of that thing the better.
On one of the old tunnels there is not only a double track but a third gauntleted track for extra high trains. Obviously that reduces the number of trains able to pass through.
Lorries will be charged a prohibitive tax to use the roads - one reason Switzerland cannot join the EU, as the EU would probably prevent the extra road toll.

MudLake
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by MudLake »

george matthews wrote:
MudLake wrote:
george matthews wrote: One reason for those new base tunnels is to get large lorries off the roads. Switzerland wishes to tackle air pollution by taking road traffic through the country by train. The new tunnels will be big enough to carry lorries on trains. Switzerland is a major traffic route between Germany and Italy.
And a laudable goal that is. The St. Gotthard Tunnel is single lane each direction which strikes me as a rather horrific concept. The sooner they can get vehicles out of that thing the better.
On one of the old tunnels there is not only a double track but a third gauntleted track for extra high trains. Obviously that reduces the number of trains able to pass through.
Lorries will be charged a prohibitive tax to use the roads - one reason Switzerland cannot join the EU, as the EU would probably prevent the extra road toll.
I realize this is OT but does illustrate a difference in approach to a situation -- Switzerland vs USA. I'll do my best to tie this to adding a train to Lynchburg. Switzerland has two issues they are addressing:

1) Can't run heavy freight trains north/south through the Alps. If you believe what's on the internet, they are limited to 1400 tons. Having taken a train down that rail line and through the Gotthard rail tunnel (maybe the best rail journey I've ever been on), I can certainly believe it.
2) The Gotthard vehicle tunnel is a single bore bottleneck and is a nightmare situation especially considering all of the truck traffic between Germany and Italy.

How to solve both problems? Build a new and longer rail tunnel at lower elevation that eliminates all of the slow spiral tunnels along the way, reduces the grade, and allows much heavier freight trains. Put trucks onto the trains for the cross-Alps travel and that solves problem #2 and also further lowers truck pollution.

It's a massive amount of money but it's being used to solve real problems. What problem will be solved by adding a train to Lynchburg? I'm not saying this is categorically a bad idea but the contrast is remarkable. What are the truly big problems that rain can solve in the USA (better than other options) and can we focus our resources on them? Simply throwing more money to replicate what we had 100 years ago (e.g. adding a train to Lynchburg) doesn't seem to be as useful or as wise expenditure as what the Swiss are doing.

warren1949
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by warren1949 »

MudLake wrote: I realize this is OT but does illustrate a difference in approach to a situation -- Switzerland vs USA. I'll do my best to tie this to adding a train to Lynchburg. Switzerland has two issues they are addressing:

1) Can't run heavy freight trains north/south through the Alps. If you believe what's on the internet, they are limited to 1400 tons. Having taken a train down that rail line and through the Gotthard rail tunnel (maybe the best rail journey I've ever been on), I can certainly believe it.
2) The Gotthard vehicle tunnel is a single bore bottleneck and is a nightmare situation especially considering all of the truck traffic between Germany and Italy.

How to solve both problems? Build a new and longer rail tunnel at lower elevation that eliminates all of the slow spiral tunnels along the way, reduces the grade, and allows much heavier freight trains. Put trucks onto the trains for the cross-Alps travel and that solves problem #2 and also further lowers truck pollution.

It's a massive amount of money but it's being used to solve real problems. What problem will be solved by adding a train to Lynchburg? I'm not saying this is categorically a bad idea but the contrast is remarkable. What are the truly big problems that rain can solve in the USA (better than other options) and can we focus our resources on them? Simply throwing more money to replicate what we had 100 years ago (e.g. adding a train to Lynchburg) doesn't seem to be as useful or as wise expenditure as what the Swiss are doing.

Thank you for getting back to the Virginia situation. I made the post about tunnels and improved rights of way, and it was meant to suggest the same thing you have noted. The fact is that the US can't seem to get past the notion of using century old routes for our trains. Granted, parts of those rights of way are just fine (assuming some upgrades to the tracks, signals, etc.), but there are mountains and curves, or even old tunnels, and we need to be thinking about how to eliminate those kinds of bottlenecks. The key will be to raise the "average" speed of trains, not to raise the "top" speed.

george matthews
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by george matthews »

It's a massive amount of money but it's being used to solve real problems. What problem will be solved by adding a train to Lynchburg? I'm not saying this is categorically a bad idea but the contrast is remarkable. What are the truly big problems that rain can solve in the USA (better than other options) and can we focus our resources on them? Simply throwing more money to replicate what we had 100 years ago (e.g. adding a train to Lynchburg) doesn't seem to be as useful or as wise expenditure as what the Swiss are doing.
It's going to be carbon. That's the Big Problem.

Suburban Station
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Suburban Station »

george matthews wrote: It's going to be carbon. That's the Big Problem.
well, I don't see hat as the reason I'd take a train to lynchburg. honestly, I think if the train were faster, thsi shoudl go to charlotte. at any rate, I'd choose it over driving if it is reasonably fast because it's comfortable and avoids DC traffic, among other places. in the northeast, congestion is a real and growing problem that can't be solved by highways alone. some crackpot environmental theory, OTOH, won't get me on a slow train.

Darien Red Sox
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Darien Red Sox »

Any word on when Amtrak is going to approve this?
Some people complain about the traffic on I95, If you have a problem with traffic and the rails go where you are going, TAKE THE TRAIN!!!

mkellerm
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Location: Annapolis, MD

Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by mkellerm »

The Amtrak board is supposed to vote on this in April, according to the VDRPT.

Darien Red Sox
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Darien Red Sox »

mkellerm wrote:The Amtrak board is supposed to vote on this in April, according to the VDRPT.
lets hope for a yes.
As it looks like right now these trains are suppose to be extensions of North East Regional trains. However would they be switched to LD equipment if VA is to extend them farther?
Some people complain about the traffic on I95, If you have a problem with traffic and the rails go where you are going, TAKE THE TRAIN!!!

Darien Red Sox
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Darien Red Sox »

mtuandrew wrote:
hi55us wrote:This effort is being funded by the state of Virginia, not Tennessee, I'm sure that @ a price Tenessee could have service to Knoxville.
For that matter, for a price there could be a full Trans-Tennessee Express from Bristol through Knoxville, then straight across to Nashville and Memphis. So far though, not even NARP has that on their radar.

Good first start for Virginia - hopefully they'll inspire other gateway states to take more steps than they already have.
Running these trains to Knoxville would probably not work as it is not going to be LD equipment b/c it will be a contunuation of a regional. In order to do a train to Knoxville or even on the Nashville or Memphis you would want a long distance train, which right now there is a shortage of Viewlinner Sleeper cars. Once you got some more Viewliner sleeper cars you then you could add a train to TN but there may be some disadvantages for VA having one of these trains turned in a LD train including the possibility of less passengers b/c of a transfer unless the train was ran all though way through to BOS which is unlikely.
Some people complain about the traffic on I95, If you have a problem with traffic and the rails go where you are going, TAKE THE TRAIN!!!

realtype
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by realtype »

Does anyone know what the new service will be called? IMHO they need to rename the entire current Virginia Regional extension to something other than "Northeast Regional"? Virginia's not in the Northeast, the extension uses different equipment, and is slower. Virginian, Tidewater, or Colonial sound good.

Suburban Station
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Suburban Station »

realtype wrote:Does anyone know what the new service will be called? IMHO they need to rename the entire current Virginia Regional extension to something other than "Northeast Regional"? Virginia's not in the Northeast, the extension uses different equipment, and is slower. Virginian, Tidewater, or Colonial sound good.
not a big fan of Colonial (reall, that could be anywhere on the east coast). I never understood "Northeast Regional" unless they were hoping to have other regionals. In this case, the richmond line could be seen as "Mid Atlantic Regional" since it would be NY-Richmond, more or less the Mid-Atlantic Region IMO. one for each. "Tidewater Regional" with a separate name for the Lynchburg service since it's a completely different route.

chefwrg
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Location: Glen Allen, VA MP 9.65 (RF&P)

Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by chefwrg »

Actually The Virginian might be good for the Lynchburg route, especially since it might get extended to Roanoke. I think the Newport News Train used to be called the Tidewater which is appropriate since that's what that area of the state is called.

jp1822
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Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by jp1822 »

Although most were before my time of travelling on the NEC, I would much rather prefer the named trains than the Northeast Regional train #'s. For example, I can seem to remember when the Vermonter passes through Penn Station, but ask me when Northeast Regional train 169 passes through - I am scrambling for a schedule. The named trains - to a degree - also helped distinguish what trains originated where. You can still do that with the train #'s under 100, but it's difficult after that. For example, on my trips to Baltimore, I want a train that originates out of NYC, not Boston (as I know it has a higher probability of being late). If it were a name train, I'd probably remember it better. Now that's just me. Others remember numbers better. And ironically, as an accountant, my job revolves around numbers!

In general though, service south of Washington DC, should probably have names, as they travel out of the Northeast Region for the most part.

Darien Red Sox
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Re: Another couple of trains for Virginia

Post by Darien Red Sox »

Its April, any updates? Is there a date that the board is voting on it?
Some people complain about the traffic on I95, If you have a problem with traffic and the rails go where you are going, TAKE THE TRAIN!!!

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