• Night Owl Coming Back

  • 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

  by charlesriverbranch
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:21 am There are reports that the "Night Owl" is returning on July 11 but it will not have a baggage or sleeper in the consist. Part of the problem is that 65/67 will be coming north from Newport News and 66 is coming north from Roanoke.
Aren't 65 and 67 southbound, not northbound? If they go to Newport News, but 66 returns from Roanoke, how does that work?
  by STrRedWolf
 
shadyjay wrote: Thu Jun 23, 2022 8:29 pm Years ago, during the M&E initiative, there was a plan to extend the Silver Star to Boston, operating over the Inland Route.

Regardless, I still don't see why Amtrak thinks the NYP-BOS leg of the NEC doesn't see at least one long distance train extended. Perhaps its because of the limited bridge opening stipulation for a certain # of trains, and Amtrak would rather have their limited slots be higher-revenue trains such as Acela. Most likely the limited openings is why the "inland route" was chosen for the stillborn Silver Star extension.

Or maybe the demand isn't there. But then again, you never know until you try!
The last line is my big point. I mean, I would love to do an overnight DC/Boston in a sleeper, but that doesn't mean it didn't fill a sleeper pre-pandemic. I'd love to see ticketing stats for the Night Owl between city pairs. If there's a good chunk of people that are doing overnights between DC and Boston... why not try the sleeper again?

On adding Boston to any LD service... well, from looking at the schedules, we'd have to shift them a lot. The Night Owl does it in 9 hours. I'd think any LD service would only hit major cities and transfer points, so it would do it in less time. That doesn't make sense... and most current timings would have Boston in most unfortunate times.
  by bostontrainguy
 
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:49 am On adding Boston to any LD service... well, from looking at the schedules, we'd have to shift them a lot. The Night Owl does it in 9 hours. I'd think any LD service would only hit major cities and transfer points, so it would do it in less time. That doesn't make sense... and most current timings would have Boston in most unfortunate times.
Not true. An extended Silver Star would leave Boston around 7:00 AM and arrive back around 11:00 PM. The Crescent would leave about 10 :00AM and arrive back about 10:30 PM.

You can make transfers now in NYP from connecting trains at reasonable times right? Through trains would only make things better.
  by eolesen
 
I don't see the value proposition on extending either train being worth the added complexity...

Plus, you'd have to kick everyone out at midnight, which negates the whole argument for paying for a sleeper.

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  by Gilbert B Norman
 
I'm sorry Mr. Trainguy, but the collective "you" with your "anchor" city of 689K population, have "done quite well" by Amtrak.

Just think, you got the electrification, Acelas, and even (to me) that "waste" of through Coaches and Sleepers through Albany to Chicago.

Your outsized political clout up there has done its job to "bring home the bacon" as is.

Now to expect that 91-92, "Star" and 19-20 "Crescent" will be extended up there, using scarce resources (bridge openings; "Thank you Fairfield Navy"), establishing additional maintenance capacity to turn LD trains, additional sets of equipment needed, and whatever other impediments I've overlooked, simply escapes me.

"The Vacationer"; a Boston-Miami train that only made a service stop at Old Penn was gone some twenty years before A-Day. How can one reasonably expect that business will miraculously return?
  by STrRedWolf
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 8:11 am
STrRedWolf wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 7:49 am On adding Boston to any LD service... well, from looking at the schedules, we'd have to shift them a lot. The Night Owl does it in 9 hours. I'd think any LD service would only hit major cities and transfer points, so it would do it in less time. That doesn't make sense... and most current timings would have Boston in most unfortunate times.
Not true. An extended Silver Star would leave Boston around 7:00 AM and arrive back around 11:00 PM. The Crescent would leave about 10 :00AM and arrive back about 10:30 PM.

You can make transfers now in NYP from connecting trains at reasonable times right? Through trains would only make things better.
You forget the original premise of the Night Owl sleepers: Bed in Boston, wake up in DC. Trip is 9 hours. If we want to keep that on an LD, we'd have to change the LD's timing. Add onto the fact that these LD's would make less stops on the NEC than the Night Owl, and you get into timing issues no matter what.

And yes, I checked some daytrip trains too, like the Piedmont. Boston to Atlanta anyone?
  by bostontrainguy
 
Gilbert B Norman wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 10:19 am I'm sorry Mr. Trainguy, but the collective "you" with your "anchor" city of 689K population, have "done quite well" by Amtrak.

Just think, you got the electrification, Acelas, and even (to me) that "waste" of through Coaches and Sleepers through Albany to Chicago.

Your outsized political clout up there has done its job to "bring home the bacon" as is.

Now to expect that 91-92, "Star" and 19-20 "Crescent" will be extended up there, using scarce resources (bridge openings; "Thank you Fairfield Navy"), establishing additional maintenance capacity to turn LD trains, additional sets of equipment needed, and whatever other impediments I've overlooked, simply escapes me.

"The Vacationer"; a Boston-Miami train that only made a service stop at Old Penn was gone some twenty years before A-Day. How can one reasonably expect that business will miraculously return?
Mr. Norman, I have done the Boston to Florida run several times. Previously I have had to bring luggage to South Station the day before and had to go back the day after returning to pick it up since all checked luggage north of NYP had to be carried on the Night Owl (not now even possible).

I took a trip one summer with my wife and my cousin and his wife. He really wanted to come with us on the train, having never done that, but when we explained what was necessary to do it they decided to fly because it was so much easier.

Of course during these trips we met lots of people traveling through from New England to Florida. I know Amtrak would have stats on such things. I can't quote any figures but there is a market.

Also Amtrak recently opened through LD trains to local travel on the NEC although I have no idea how that worked out or if it is still being done. This would increase ridership and would create new services like daytime private rooms, which Amtrak is promoting right now, and even diner service along the corridor which may become a popular "experiential" experience.

If you want to attract passengers you got to make travel pleasant and convenient. The existing situation is not ideal and let's face it . . . it's cheaper and faster to fly. Yeah we here all like to travel by train but if they keep taking things away and make it more difficult, even us diehards are going to give up and just take a plane.
  by David Benton
 
Lots of intermediate stops, north and south of Washington. Plus people who want a dining and baggage experience on the nec.
  by west point
 
It is all about euipment, equipment, equipment---------- not enough LD cars especially sleepers and diners. I have difficulty seeing how the new Texacan service that connects at Meridian will have enough equipment with out raiding other LD trains. Amtrak seems in no hurry to add LD eqiipment to orders. Same old starve LD services.

I know of an airline that would cancel many full flights because those flight showed no passenger growth. Could it be that is the same thing going on with Amtrak? Amtrak cannot grow LD revenue without the equipment on the present trains. The NEC is having growth because there ae empty seats. Y
  by Gilbert B Norman
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Sat Jun 25, 2022 6:11 pm
If you want to attract passengers you got to make travel pleasant and convenient. The existing situation is not ideal and let's face it . . . it's cheaper and faster to fly. Yeah we here all like to travel by train but if they keep taking things away and make it more difficult, even us diehards are going to give up and just take a plane.
Mr. Trainguy, judging from your handle, I would think experiential rail travel is an important part of life, but we must accept that, away from cruises (which I've been on, including two Transatlantic sailings, but personally have no use for their "contrived merriment"), is no longer what commercial passenger transportation is all about - be such air or rail.

Even flying overseas "forward of the curtain" (the only place you'd ever find me - no dough? just wouldn't go), amenities are being whacked. COVID the excuse of course; but that becomes more "lame" as the acceptance of such being endemic sets in - and you can protect yourself from serious illness with a VAX. No longer is your Dinner "plated" (still metal flatware - for the moment), no longer is dessert served from a cart, no longer do Attendants circulate through the cabin with a Pinot in one hand and a Chard in the other (want more? it's comp but you get it just as you do in Coach - a 187ml "split").

So, returning to Amtrak, while at present, there still is "political impetus" to maintain the LD system (save 97-98, Meteor, which could be a casualty without adversely affecting anyone), it simply no longer is being directed towards experiential riders. I do not foresee a systemwide return to full service "traditional Dining" systemwide as the advocacy community is hoping for - and I wouldn't place any bets on the longevity of where it was restored.

It's "point A to B" volks; be it on the rails or at FL350.
  by STrRedWolf
 
bostontrainguy wrote: Wed Jun 22, 2022 9:21 am There are reports that the "Night Owl" is returning on July 11 but it will not have a baggage or sleeper in the consist. Part of the problem is that 65/67 will be coming north from Newport News and 66 is coming north from Roanoke. Looks like a Sleeper would have to be added/removed in D.C. if they wanted to reestablish the sleeper service. Loss of baggage is a real blow to anyone traveling on a LD from north of NYC which was the only checked baggage train.
Getting back to the opening post here... I kinda wondered "Wait, Roanoke... where's Roanoke? Why this split?"

Central Virginia. Not coastal Virginia like Newport News or Norfolk. In fact, the split to go there happens in Alexandria. Not only that, the station only serves the Regionals, and by poking at Amtrak's scheduler about a month in advance, there's two trains going northbound (176 and 66) but only one coming back (171) from Boston.

Switching it to New York Penn makes things a bit better (151 and 171 going south), which then makes me realize... it's timing and logistics.

You see, it's over 14 hours to get from Boston to Newport News. You also are on a main line and there's no good servicing area. The only good areas are ether Boston South Station, New York Penn, or Washington, DC... unless you also count Roanoke if Amtrak's renting services from NS (they're not, Roanoke's just a flat platform).

They're reusing trainsets. There isn't a dedicated trainset (or two) for the Night Owl. It's not the Night Owl.

They can't service a sleeper in Roanoke because it's not a full train station. They can't service it in Newport News because the station's on a main line. They can't service it in Norfolk because they're getting three trains a day and there's no parking anywhere for it to sit out of the way. All the staff can do is clean out the main cabins, get some basic checks in for the next run, and go. It'll have to be serviced fully in NYP or BOS.

So why not yank the sleeper off in WAS? Well, what time does it arrive? For a Sunday-Thursday BOS departure, it arrives at 7am during the heart of the rush hour. You got MARC and VRE trains coming in. Swapping engines takes two tracks, and the sleeper would need a third engine the way they're doing it.

That explains why the sleeper was closed off in WAS on the way south. The staff had to clean up and reset everything while the train was moving because it took too long to do it otherwise at stations where Amtrak has logistic issues. And they can't do it now because of the staffing issues.

It doth truly suck.
  by RandallW
 
The Amtrak Roanoke Maintenance Facility (Google Street View) is a single track open air service area about one mile from the downtown station platform.
  by eolesen
 

west point wrote: I know of an airline that would cancel many full flights because those flight showed no passenger growth. Could it be that is the same thing going on with Amtrak?
One could only hope...

Airlines won't keep a route that can't break even on a point to point or network contribution basis (does the traffic connecting at one end or the other make enough of a contribution to other routes that its worth carrying as a loss leader).

If such logic were carried forward to Amtrak, just about all of the non-State subsidized network would be gone aside from Autotrain and maybe the Builder...

Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  by STrRedWolf
 
RandallW wrote: Sun Jun 26, 2022 2:51 pm The Amtrak Roanoke Maintenance Facility (Google Street View) is a single track open air service area about one mile from the downtown station platform.
Geesh, how do they *wye* the trainset down there?!?
  by Greg Moore
 
My guess would be the Wye just north of there.