• Amtrak: Connects US

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

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, mtuandrew, Tadman

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  by Literalman
 
I was disappointed by the lack of details that Amtrak provided. The title was underlined and I hoped it would be a link, but no. Some city names in blue might have been links, but they were not. I went to the Amtrak Connects Us website, which also had very few facts. When I clicked to learn more about the "vision," I got a web page with a few skimpy paragraphs. Amtrak said it consulted people at state and local levels, so I would like to hear detailed results. Or maybe they're someplace and I just didn't find them.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
If I was a regular traveler who wanted to get between Boston, Albany, or any intermediate point, I don't think I would want to ride a train that does an average speed of 43 mph. This train would have to be close to an hour faster than what it's planned to be. I take it that much of the speed constraints would be west of Springfield, given the fact that much of the Boston & Albany RR right of way has many sharp turns. Lots of additional track would have to be added on the entire Boston & Albany. It's also possible that a fifth or even sixth track and additional platform at ALB would have to be built to accommodate any muti-roundtrip train service running between Albany and Boston. It would be nice to have a stop in Chatham, NY. Remember that even if there is Amtrak corridor service running between Albany-Rensellaer and Boston, people who are heading from the Berkshires who are starting their trip in NYC might still take the Empire Corridor to Hudson or Albany-Rensellaer. There will be people who take Metro North to Wassaic. I'm sure many of these people will have car arrangements waiting for them at the stations.

Heads up about the Amfleets-it's not known yet what will replace them. Time will tell though and we should know sooner rather than later.

The Chicago Hub definately needs to have their corridor rail service improved. Chicago to Indy is a potential corridor but in order for that to happen, speeds must be increased, especially between Chicago and Dyer where much of the headaches are. This is what causes the Hoosier State trains to slow down tremendously which then led to a drop in ridership, causing these trains to be pulled from the schedule. Chicago to MSP has potential to grow. Hopefully the ride can be a little faster than what it presently is on the Builder. For the morning westbound corridor train, I would not depart CHI at 11:00. I would move the departure from CHI up my an hour and a half to two hours so that way, people traveling from Chicago to the Twin Cities would arrive before dinnertime. In addition, this would enable long daytrips from Chicago and Milwaukee to several of the towns in Wisconsin including Wisconsin Dells and back.
I like the idea of seeing a corridor from Chicago to Green Bay and back. While the Hiawatha Service to Milwaukee is pretty good for Midwestern standards, it would be even better to have the trains serve cities like Green Bay. A business traveler who lives in Chicago and has a meeting in Green Bay would probably want to take the train all the way up. You could also have somebody who lives along the current Hiawatha Route who wants to travel to Green Bay to see a Packers game live.
  by gokeefe
 

eolesen wrote:At 73, it wouldn't surprise me if he were to call it a day when his term expires in 2024, so he doesn't necessarily need to vote as though his re-election depends on it.
A West Virginia Senator retiring before he turns 90 or dies in office? You're kidding right? Image

I would be stunned if he chose to retire. He's just reaching the height of his power in the Senate. Probably at least two more terms to go.

Think of Biden as you would LBJ. He has a masterful command of Senate procedure and probably has more political capital from his time in Congress than any President *EVER*. His nearest comparables are LBJ (11 years in the Senate) and James Buchanan (also 11 years). He has them both covered three times over.

Mark my words ... This plan is going to get passed and unless there's a counter proposal that really has some weight it's going to sail through almost certainly in very much the same form we are seeing right now.

In Amtrak's history this plan will stand as a counter point to the "Carter Cuts". Call it the "Biden Trains Plan" (the bill is known as the "American Jobs Plan"). Another name could be "The Great Restoration" ... Because frankly it is absolutely nothing short of that.

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  by gokeefe
 

Gilbert B Norman wrote:[But I'm appalled that Amtrak has circulated this "dreamscape of new routes" that certainly has the railfan community "a buzzin". Stick to the basics and the stuff that counts. Those have names such as Gateway, Portal, and B&P. That's infrastructure - and that is what AJPA is supposedly all about.
Mr. Norman,

I wondered somewhat the same when I heard about the plan and went to go to see the map. Much to their credit ridiculous things like a restoration of the Pioneer or (heaven forbid Image) the North Coast Hiawatha were mercifully kept out of the plan. There is in fact not a single blame worthy "pork" route that I could see. I'm giving Amtrak the benefit of the doubt on the notable new service points in Pennsylvania (Scranton ... anyone who is surprised by that apparently has been in news free quarantine since 2008).

But in the end it's impossible in my eyes to argue against day time service corridors that have end (or intermediate) points in either PHL or NYP.

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  by GWoodle
 
The Nashville to Atlanta proposal came up about a year ago. This is an idea to bring the fastest growing city into the Amtrak network.

From what I can find the last trains to use this route were the Georgian and Dixie Flyer on L&N. Both did not make it past A-day so no service in 50 years. Both used C&EI track from Chicago. A section came from St Louis. The sections were combined in Evansville for the run to Nashville. It appears it took some 4 hours to Chattanooga then another 3 into Atlanta. Average speed NB or SB of 48mph. Maybe save an hour westbound. Maybe Amtrak could be a little faster by dropping the Grinder Switch flag stops. Most of the old Western & Atlantic in Georgia or Chattanooga NC&STL track still in 1850's ROW. Mostly single track with portions shared by CSX & NS. May be heavy CWR to allow fast intermodal + heavy manifest freight.

The South Wind in combo with Auto Train used different route from Nashville south to Birmingham.
  by west point
 
Electricon: Yes some stations will need more agents but others will not
1. For the crescent route day train Greenville SC would have a southbound Crescent and north bound day time train at close enough time to not need another agent. ATL would not need additional agents in the morning but might need extra for a near midnight scheduled southbound to just cover that time frame. WASH DC probably need 1 additional agent. Charlottesville if day train routed there already has agent on duty all day long..
If routed by Raleigh - Richmond would not need any additional agents at any station. .
2. JAX - MIA if an extension of Palmetto would need another agent at all stations south of JAX.
3. The list goes on bu. You are making assumptions of whether the proposals might be extensions of present trains or not. If extensions the 750 mile will not rule. As well that rule might be dropped this year ?

Amfleet-1s all retired. Not very likely. Anderson did forward that idea but new chief in town now. Of course some -1s will be retired but many were out of service for years until the Obama office restore some 65 -1s. The -2s have not been mentioned as being replaced but they have much .more miles even though they are younger. I do not pretend to know how much capacity will be needed after C-19 but looking at airline demand Amtrak demand may be substantial.

Sleeper service on present services seems very tight as well and it may get worse. This summer will tell. Some of these proposals certainly seems to point out needing sleeper service as well.
  by Jeff Smith
 
A rather derisive piece in Politico: https://www.politico.com/newsletters/po ... joe-492383
...
With all the chronic problems facing Amtrak’s existing network of slow and sporadic trains that struggle to attract riders and revenues, why should it be a national priority to extend the network to sleepy communities like Christianburg, Va. (population 22,163) or Rockland, Me. (population 7,178)? Is North Carolina really clamoring for service from Asheville to Salisbury? Is there any reason for Amtrak executives to propose a new route from New York City to President Biden’s beloved birthplace of Scranton, Pa., other than the obvious reason?

Politics is the reason Amtrak already operates in 46 of the lower 48 states, even though few of them have the population densities that make inter-city rail work so well in much of Asia and Europe. Scattering trains across the country helps bring lawmakers on board, the infrastructure equivalent of the Pentagon distributing contracts for a single jet to hundreds of congressional districts. Amtrak’s new 2035 Vision reveals a desire to keep spreading rail money around like peanut butter — to plausible destinations like Las Vegas and Phoenix but also to head-scratching destinations like Allentown and Cheyenne, which would make Wyoming the 47th state with a station.
...
  by kitchin
 
Christianburg is an enclave in Montgomery County. "Montgomery County, home to Virginia Tech, passed 100,000 residents in 2019, becoming the largest locality west of the Blue Ridge Mountains." https://news.virginia.edu/content/state ... n-virginia The Amtrak station will be mainly for Virginia Tech, with 33,000 students, and strong economic connections to Northern Virginia.
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
Here's my key takeaway from the Politico material Mr. Smith has submitted:
The value of Amtrak isn’t to extend passenger rail everywhere. It’s to provide efficient and convenient passenger rail in some places that improves American mobility while reducing carbon emissions from cars and planes.
Pages and pages of this topic have addressed routes for which there is no economic justification whatever. How can one reasonably expect a Nashville-Atlanta route going "way around" a little obstacle God placed there and we humankind named Monteagle, to be speed competitive with other surface transportation?

Or how to reach Asheville NC, a "very touristy town" over a 3% rail ruling grade? 3%; no big deal for highway vehicles; something else for a train.

But in the meantime, let the One Mass dreamers, and those here and even more at an advocacy site, dream away.
  by kitchin
 
By the way, about half the Amtrak stations in Virginia are walking distance to a 4-year college: Norfolk, Williamsburg, Petersburg, Richmond Main (VCU Medical), Ashland, Fredericksburg, Charlottesville, Staunton.
Last edited by kitchin on Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:06 pm, edited 1 time in total.
  by FatNoah
 
My take on this whole proposal is that it is doing exactly what it was intended to do. It's not a "plan" for anything, except to get passenger rail to the forefront during a rare opportunity for the country to ramp up infrastructure spending. Every "news" site, discussion forum, and the like from coast to coast are talking about Amtrak planning to start or improve service in their neck of the woods. Perhaps omitting South Dakota was a masterstroke to make folks in that state demand a piece of the pie, too.

Amtrak has anchored their infra negotiations, so that when we eventually get around to figuring how much of this "plan" to implement, there's lots of room to reduce the scope. Meanwhile, congresscritters in almost every state are getting a little ground swells of support for infra work.
  by Ridgefielder
 
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:07 pm If I was a regular traveler who wanted to get between Boston, Albany, or any intermediate point, I don't think I would want to ride a train that does an average speed of 43 mph. This train would have to be close to an hour faster than what it's planned to be. I take it that much of the speed constraints would be west of Springfield, given the fact that much of the Boston & Albany RR right of way has many sharp turns. Lots of additional track would have to be added on the entire Boston & Albany.
I think "lots" of track might be an overstatement. This line was 2-3x more busy than present as recently as the 1990's, never mind the distant past.
njtmnrrbuff wrote: Wed Apr 07, 2021 6:07 pm Chicago to MSP has potential to grow. Hopefully the ride can be a little faster than what it presently is on the Builder. For the morning westbound corridor train, I would not depart CHI at 11:00. I would move the departure from CHI up my an hour and a half to two hours so that way, people traveling from Chicago to the Twin Cities would arrive before dinnertime. In addition, this would enable long daytrips from Chicago and Milwaukee to several of the towns in Wisconsin including Wisconsin Dells and back.
If I read the map right, the proposed extra Chi-Twin Cities service would run via a different routing than the Builder: Milwaukee-Madison-Eau Claire-St. Paul. Mostly ex-CNW instead of the ex-MILW main in current use.
  by njtmnrrbuff
 
The state supported train between Chicago and St. Paul will follow the same as the Builder.

As for Boston-Albany, probably wherever there is single track, a second track would be helpful. I don’t think there needs to be four track.
  by Arborwayfan
 
The politico piece objects to Cheyenne, but Cheyenne seems like a reasonable northern endpoint for a Front Range corridor. 64,000 people 100 miles from Denver over pretty straight, flat track (or a bit further if going via Boulder, too, which might make sense esp if Amtrak could then share commuter rail track that might get built some day. Probably no more senseless than Carbondale, IL.
  by Greg Moore
 
west point wrote: Thu Apr 08, 2021 2:58 am Amfleet-1s all retired. Not very likely. Anderson did forward that idea but new chief in town now. Of course some -1s will be retired but many were out of service for years until the Obama office restore some 65 -1s. The -2s have not been mentioned as being replaced but they have much .more miles even though they are younger. I do not pretend to know how much capacity will be needed after C-19 but looking at airline demand Amtrak demand may be substantial.

Sleeper service on present services seems very tight as well and it may get worse. This summer will tell. Some of these proposals certainly seems to point out needing sleeper service as well.
As I've said before (and some others have agreed, at least in part) what Amtrak really needs is a long-term plan to be buying 100 or 150 cars a year, for 5+ years, nice steady work.

That said, my advice would be, for every 100 cars that come on site, retire the worst 50. Slowly you add capacity, but you're also getting rid of the maintenance hogs, etc. So definitely don't do a 1:1 replacement any time soon.

I think Amtrak has done an amazing job with their resources, but eventually they just won't have the capacity if they don't get a LOT more equipment.
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