George - I think maybe at first the SL was fairly well patronized (before the Bayou Canot accident, when the NOL-Fla. service itself was still fairly new), but I have ridden the Sunset a few times since then between L.A. and Florida, and in most cases, the last day of the trip (after New Orleans), the lounge car was like a ghost town, with maybe 4 or 5 people in it, while the previous day, west of NOL, it was packed.
Posts: 2427 | From: Grayling, MI | Registered: Mar 2002
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Well, the lounge car analogy is hit or miss. Last week on the Crescent the lounge was virtually empty the entire time and they had 180 people on the train. On the City of New Orleans out of CHI, even though it is usually booked to capacity, the lounge sometimes is totally empty.
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44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003. Posts: 135 | From: Atlanta, GA / New Orleans, LA | Registered: Jan 2004
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The only way to really know the load, for the coach part at least, is to walk the train. With sleepers a closed door is a closed door whether or not there is a body or bodies behind it.
Regardless of when or if the train comes back, this is a line that begs and screams for both capacity and speed improvements.
New Orleans to Flomaton needs partial double tracking, Full would be better, but if it could be done in 10 mile plus sections with less than 10 miles between them, that would help a lot. Figure that the bridges are unlikely to ever get a second track, at least out of CSX's pocket.
Flomaton to Tallahassee needs signals so the 59 mph limit can be lifted, plus of course several more long sidings. East of Tallahassee probably some siding extensions, and maybe a couple of new ones would be nice. Aside from reliability improvements, the average speed between Flomatan and Tallahassee could probably increase by about 10 mph even without any increases in curve speeds.
It is only a problem of money - - like so many other things.