Discussion related to commuter rail and transit operators in California past and present including Los Angeles Metrolink and Metro Subway and Light Rail, San Diego Coaster, Sprinter and MTS Trolley, Altamont Commuter Express (Stockton), Caltrain and MUNI (San Francisco), Sacramento RTD Light Rail, and others...

Moderator: lensovet

  by pdtrains
Who cars\es if its on the "official Amtk list" or not. The list can be changed at the drop of a hat, or it could be an Amtk CAlif train.

I thjnk its a great idea. Problems are...
1. it would have to be heavily advertised for business travel.
2. The service would have to be extraordinarily good. I Mean pampering ppl like airline 1st class.
3. you'd need to have cars with 8 bedrooms, 2 roomettes. Biz ppl dont want a lousy nights sleep
4. Provisions for early boarding, late leaving the train car, with some sort of food service available during sitting.
5. it would have to be good enough that biz ppl would prefer it to the airplane/hotel thing. The airplane/hotel/biz meeting thing really sucks, if you've done it a lot.

OK, chances are it will never happen, but i think its a good idea if anyone had the money to spend on doing it correctly. If Amtk, as we know it, ever tried it, it would die from lack of advertising, and total inability to make it a relaxing experience
  by Gilbert B Norman
As I noted at a related topic over at the Amtrak Forum, a railfan has "tried it out" BOS to WAS Sleeper and reported on his journey over at an "advocacy focused" site.

He was less than impressed and noted how the car was dirty, announcements were made through the night - even in the Sleeper, and the "Continental Breakfast" was some kind of joke.

From what I've read and to my surprise, several of the European services such as that in the Nordic countries and the "Night Jet" through the EU are taking hold. However, those services appear to be pitched to the Couchette/Backpack/Frommer crowd, and not to the Business crowd being addressed at this SF-LA topic.

Surprise from me, as part of a CXD trip last year (sure hope I can use by Apr '22 $3200 United Airlines Certificate), I was actually considering a Night Jet Munich-Rome and return Night Jet junket. The rate for a Deluxe single occupancy Bedroom did not "knock me over", but then, for a 79yo to be "homeless in Rome" (last there during '71) for some twelve hours was "a bit much", and I concluded that it would be too much "deprivation" of creature comfort and scuttled that idea before COVID scuttled the entire trip.
  by ExCon90
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 6:19 am
From what I've read and to my surprise, several of the European services such as that in the Nordic countries and the "Night Jet" through the EU are taking hold. However, those services appear to be pitched to the Couchette/Backpack/Frommer crowd, and not to the Business crowd being addressed at this SF-LA topic.
From various videos I've seen, those Night Jet services are pretty good for what they are, but what they are will not attract, and certainly will not satisfy, the "Lark" crowd of the 1950's. The economics simply won't support it. However, there are plenty. of the C/B/F population --my compliments on the characterization -- in California, and it might be worth a try.
  by lensovet
pdtrains wrote: Sat Apr 10, 2021 2:22 am Who cars\es if its on the "official Amtk list" or not. The list can be changed at the drop of a hat, or it could be an Amtk CAlif train.

I thjnk its a great idea. Problems are...
right, it's a great idea, but full of problems and will never be financially viable. dream on :wink:
  by electricron
Whereas Oakland is not San Francisco, the distances between LA and both the Bay Cities is about the same. It takes the Coast Starlight over 11 hours to travel between LA and Oakland averaging 42 mph over 464 rail miles. Assuming a 8 pm departure from the original city, that would be a 7 am arrival in the terminal city. Would both Caltrain and Metrolink allow this overnight train take a commuting train scheduling slot for the morning arrival? How much would this proposed sleeper train schedule needs to be changed, forward or later a few hours? Later there would not need a diner service, earlier there would not need a breakfast service - as I proposed there would not need either service on the train. ;)
11 hours on a train at night - without a diner service - will it attract enough passengers when Amtrak already runs a day train over the same route? Your guess will be as goof as mine. But guess what, CHSR looked at this during its feasibility study. They chose to go with the HSR option for its' higher Benefit Cost Ratio!!!!!!!!!

Here it is and it is not too long a read https://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_ ... alysis.pdf
Bottom Lines from 2014 study
Table 19. Benefit Cost Analysis Summary Results
10S Economic Rate of Return (ERR) 12.2% Benefit Cost Ratio (B/C) 2.23
Bay to Basin Economic Rate of Return (ERR) 12.6% Benefit Cost Ratio (B/C) 2.35
Phase 1 Blended Economic Rate of Return (ERR) 12.5% Benefit Cost Ratio (B/C) 2.33
Table 20. Summary of Benefits and Costs, 10S
Total Benefits $46,548,228,907
Grand Total Discounted Costs $20,832,314,296
Table 21. Summary of Benefits and Costs, Bay to Basin
Total Benefits $66,594,634, 162
Grand Total Discounted Costs $28,370,732,712
Table 22. Summary of Benefits and Costs, Phase !-Blended
Total Benefits $80,541,866,770
Grand Total Discounted Costs $34,639,084,822

Costs for the project has increased over the years 100%, and per the latest business plan it is now projected to be :
Phase 1 Cost Range 69,078 (low) 82,363 – 83,806 (median) 99,881 (high)
https://hsr.ca.gov/docs/about/business_ ... s_Plan.pdf

So what was $34 billion is now potentially as high as $99 billion - although the low they hope for is just $69 bullion.

So let's recalculate the Benefit Cost Ratio for Phase 1 blended.
What was $80 billion /$34 billion, is now potentially $80 billion / $99 billion = 0.808 B/C; meaning the benefits could be less than the costs. But that is the worse case projected today. The best case is $80 billion / 60 billion = 1.16 B/C. but the median case calculates to $80 billion / $82 billion = 0.975 B/C; still below the break even point of 1.0 B/C.

At some point and we are quickly approaching it if we have not already surpassed it, the benefits received are less than the costs to provide. Is it time to put this train project to rest?

And before anyone argues with the data, all the data in this post has been provided by CHSR themselves with the links I so kindly provided. All the dollar amounts are provided by CHSR as the costs from the year spent, so inflation has been taken into account.

Additionally, I expect some will dislike the B/C ratio now that is most probably below 1, but that was not the tune I was hearing when the B/C ratio was over 2. Bean counting was okay 7 years ago, but not now? Come on.
  by John_Perkowski
This idea is dumber than dog poop.

I can hop a commuter bird at LAX, Burbank, Ontario or John Wayne and be in San Jose, SFO, or Oakland an hour later. If I have the bucks, I can hop an exec u bird at my near beck and call.

A train would run from LAUPT or Burbank. You have to get to one of those two stations.

The days of “the airport station is in the hinterlands, the railroad station is conveniently downtown” are over, especially in LA and SF.

Let’s not even open the concept of quality food and beverage.

I grew up in the San Fernando Valley. This idea could be a success if Someone was willing to invest in trains departing from 530-930 on the half hour. That won’t happen, either with Caltrain or Amtrak.

This is a foamers fantasy b
  by tomj
As someone who lives in the East Bay, I wouldn't mind having an overnight train to LA. I live on the wrong side of SFO and taking a train from my suburban town overnight to SoCal would be nice. My gripe here is that the train, like most "proposals" is that the one proposal is treated like it has to be Amtrak's Jesus instead of one train being a part of a transit system. Yeah an overnight train on its own might not seem like its useful, but there needs to be more service along the Coast Route than their presently is. Amtrak's Pre COVID schedule had four buses running down the coast from San Jose on 11 hour schedules, one was at night. Replacing just that service with trains would go a long way to help people in the area. Also, the ConnectUS map is complete crap. Its something they could do in 6 years if they really wanted to and its sad that they think it will take the 15. I get that its "historic for Amtrak", but I am not placated that easily.
  by John_Perkowski
IMO, here is what a LA-4th and Townsend run would need to attract travellers…
1) A decent schedule. Target the 9 or 10 AM meeting in downtown LA or SF.
2) GREAT seafood, vegan, and steak options. Open at 6pm for dinner at LAUPT and 4th and Townsend.
3) A lounge with good booze and great internet.

Price point it below Southwest and a Hampton Inn inside the City.

The business plan and the marketing plan must make sense.
  by gprimr1
Great internet may be a challenge as the route I think passes through some less populated areas.

I think the route also needs to have facilities at each end so that passengers have a range of check-out times. If I have a 10am meeting, and the train arrives at 8am, I'd like to stay on the train until 9 or so.
  by STrRedWolf
I just caught up on this one... and I'm reminded of the Night Owl 65/66/67 that Amtrak was running before this latest pause. That was Boston/DC overnight... and only the cafe car. The timings are similar (10 hours for the Night Owl).

The thing is, 65/66/67 had a Viewliner sleeper tacked on it, which has shower facilities on-board, plus better dining at BOS and WAS. Any LA-Bay Area train has only LAU having dining. Oakland and Emeryville? Nothing (or at least Baltimore level with maybe a coffee shop, news stand, and expensive low-grade diner). San Jose may have better options (or capacity for better options) but it has to wait for BART to get to the station.

Ether way, San Francisco needs a better station.
  by Gilbert B Norman
It does not appear that Sleep Bus survived COVID. There is no booking available (save some third-party site that I'm sure is an "Invitation to the Scam"); not even a site, such as Brightline maintained, with a "see you on the other side of COVID" message.

All told, with Amtrak's rapidly rising car Bad Order ratio, best just "stow it" for a long time to come.
  by eolesen
I'd venture to say that the percentage of top shelf hotels and restaurants available per square mile is going to be statistically higher in SFO and LAX than anywhere else in the country except maybe NYC, so why on earth would you want to eat and sleep on a train?....
  by electricron
Why do all the proposed second trains on a line turn into a night train approximately running 12 hours earlier or later than the existing day train? Nobody working for Amtrak at the intermediate stations, and there are plenty of them, works longer than 8 hours per day. So Amtrak will need to hire a second, possibly third crew to staff these stations for the night train. Do you really believe that is going to happen?
  by eolesen
A 12 hour offset is the least likely to dilute existing demand. A 4-8 hour offset makes sense if there is natural demand, but the lack of a direct routing kills that demand in the LAX-SFO market....

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by lensovet
A night train is the only way to make the train competitive with air travel. For someone traveling without luggage, door to door on the plane is going to be under 3 hours. On the train it's 12 hours? At least at night it's not a big deal since you're sleeping anyway.

As far as intermediate stops are concerned, I wouldn't bother. Do an all-sleeper set that expresses from Simi Valley to Salinas.