STrRedWolf wrote: ↑Sun Aug 28, 2022 9:32 am
I doubt anyone wants to tinker with the Auto Train's current end points, so it would be 3-4 consists for it's current operations (they did get the auto racks repaired from the derailment north of Sanford, right?). Keeping those operations and expanding with more consists between different city pairs is what is being discussed.
The existing Auto Train stations are very busy from train arrival to departure every day. from am to pm when running on time. While trains may arrive early, they more likely arrive late. Any other consist sharing the existing train stations would have to be displaced to an earlier or later time slot, with additional staffing.
Which new city pairs? To be possible using just two train consists, the elapse time and rail distance would have to be similar to the existing Auto Train, 855 rail miles and 17 hours (10 am arrival, 5 pm departure).
Northeast to Midwest Auto Train:
New York City to Chicago has 959 rail miles and elapse time around 20 hours. 3 hours and almost 100 rail miles too long.
Midwest to Gulf Coast Auto Train:
Chicago to New Orleans has 930 rail miles and elapse time around 19.5 hours. 2.5 hours and 80 rail miles too long.
Midwest to Rocky Mountains Auto Train:
Chicago to Denver is 1038 rail miles and elapse time around 18.25 hours. Over 1 hour and 179 rail miles too long.
Using Amtrak's other long distance train ridership from 2020 Rail Passenger Association
DC to Orlando on Auto Train = 236,000 on Auto Train alone.
NYC to Chicago = 8,472 passengers
Chicago to New Orleans = 11,183 passengers
Chicago to Denver = 62,524 passengers
While there may be many more passengers visiting New York Penn and Chicago Union Stations, this is the ridership riding the train between the city pairs listed.
How far out will be the reach of the auto service area to the Auto Train stations. The reason the ridership is so high for the Auto Train is its stations service areas. Lorton draws from the southern New England and Mid-Atlantic areas, with a population way over 57 million, while Sanford draws from the entire State of Florida with a population of 21.7 million.
Virginia 8.5 million, Maryland 6 million, Delaware 1 million, Pennsylvania 12.8 million, New Jersey 9.3 million, New York 20.2 million = 57.8 million. Note, 57 million does not include all of New England nor all of the Mid-Atlantic states.
If you think New York is too far a drive from Lorton, dropping 20.2 million from 57.8 million still leaves 37.6 million.
What would you consider the population of a potential Auto Train station near Chicago? Around 47 million?
Michigan 10 million, Ohio 11.7 million, Indiana 6.7 million, Illinois 12.7 million, Wisconsin 5.8 million = 46.9 million
What would you consider the population of a potential Auto Train station near Denver? Around 12 million?
Colorado 5.7 million, Wyoming 0.57 million, New Mexico 2.1 million, Utah 3.2 million = 11.6 million
What would you consider the population of a potential Auto Train station near New Orleans? Around 13 million?
Louisiana 4.7 million, Mississippi 3 million, Alabama 4.9 million = 12.6 million
Florida's over 20 million is about twice as much population as the other prospects excluding Chicago. And Florida has dozens of major tourist destinations the others can not compete with. Likelyhood of as much success as the existing Auto Train, zero.
Dig up some data that disagrees with me, data not opinions.