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Author Topic: Sunset Limited operations?
Southwest Chief
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I happened to be in Ontario CA today and attempted to view the westbound Limited. Unfortunately time didn't work out so I missed it. If I was there in the afternoon I could have seen both.

I checked the Amtrak website and the westbound (#1) was over 6 hours late into LA [Eek!] ! Is this normal? I'm a Southwest Chief expert and the Limited is one of the few western trains I've never been on, so I'm very unfamiliar with it's day to day operations. But 6 hours? I thought it was getting better.

Obviously the train is no longer turned around to become #2, as #1 got into LA less then 2 hours before #2 left. Not enough time to change over the train...geeze not even enough time to switch it to the Amtrak coach yard.

So is a full Superliner set sitting in LA for the days there are no Limiteds? Could it be used to supplement a later than normal Chief? Or even the Starlight, although the consists are dissimilar.

And when did UP start using K5LA's? It fooled me into thinking the Limited was coming in [Mad]

Anyway even though I missed the Limited I still saw some interesting freights…things I rarely get to see living in BNSF territory (like a unit train of empty center beams, a lot of manifests, tons of UP yellow, some patched SP, and a patched CNW unit)

--------------------
Matt
Visit gallery for photos of our train layouts

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SunsetLtd
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The Sunset now is back to normal 7+ hour lateness. BNSF starts it off in Louisiana with an hour and a half delay. Then once on the UP everyone knows the story from there. #2 always losses time on its way to Pomona, then afterward it hits west colton then the line from Palm Springs to Yuma has to be the most congested part of the entire route and it spends most of its time following a 10mph freight. Normally trains loose at least 1-2 hours on a good day. 3+ on a bad day just on that stretch of track. Something needs to be done! UP lengthened the Zephyr schedules and its OTP bonuced right back up. If they lengethen the Sunset's schedule any longer it will be faster to walk to New Orleans. And just to think that back in SP days this was THE premier streamliner besides the Daylight.

What I think they should do is relanuch it like they are doing with the Starlight. They need to confront UP about the poor treatment of it, and its horrific on-time percentage. And get rid of the 2:30 departure time in LA. Switch it back to its old schedule and make it the premier passenger train from coast to coast. Even on a 3 day per week basis if the train stopped at resonable times at major cities like Tucson that would help boost ridership. Plus if you offer some of the finest amenities passengers will come flocking to it. But this is just a dream and maybe one day..... it will come true.

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www.youtube.com/Amsunset

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Posts: 250 | From: Texas State University-San Marcos, Texas (Hometown El Paso, TX) | Registered: Jul 2005  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Mr. Toy
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Compared to the 12-24 hour delays of a couple years ago, 6 hours sounds pretty good. The Zephyr has done worse lately, and the Starlight was routinely 8-10 hours late last summer. Six hours is nothing.
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Henry Kisor
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I am somewhat bemused by those who worry about trains not being on time (except, of course, for those with onward connections). Do they not realize that they are getting more train time, and for free? That is what I always tell those who complain about late trains. Strange ... they always give me funny looks.

;-)

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PullmanCo
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quote:
Originally posted by SunsetLtd:
And just to think that back in SP days this was THE premier streamliner besides the Daylight.


???

This was the train that Congress investigated. SP took everything off... Pullmans, diner, lounge. It was coaches, period.

It took ICC intervention and a swap for the (now current) 3 day a week schedule to get sleepers and a hamburger-grill car back on the line!

Frankly, SP ran flagships on each of its major routes, and did them all with panache ... in the 30s and 40s:

Lark
Cascade
Overland Limited
Sunset Limited
Golden State

Mr Norman, do you access to the Trains articles about the Sunset from the late 60s?

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delvyrails
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How about a permanent Sunset Limited reroute via Fullerton, Riverside, Barstow, Parker, and Phoenix to Picacho?,

Yes, it's a longer route; but as an overnight run, it matters litte. It's a more reliable route, and it again would allow the Sunset to serve Phoenix directly.

It offers better, existing station stops and better connections with Metrolink and San Diego.

A Barstow-Bakersfield bus connection could make the entire San Joaquin corridor into a Sunset feeder, too; and (via connection at Sacramento) it would save a day in connecting between the Sunset and the Coast Starlight.

This routing has been used a number of times as a detour when the SP route has been out of service.

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Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Pullman, I rode the Sunset Dec '63 El Paso-LA when it was a separate train from the Golden State.

Regarding the "frequency for amenities' swap SP made during 1970, I believe SP lived up to their side of the bargain - and quite admirably at that.

I rode Dec 1970 NO (Carrolton Ave)-El Paso (I've never ridden the Amtrak Sunset W of NO). Sleepers, including a NY-NO-LA line, had been restored. The Diner was an "Audobon Lounge' which, even though used as the "Hamburger" car on my 1963 journey, offered a 3 or 4 entre Dinner menu. There was also an Automat in the consist, but no need to go there.

Even though leaving almost an hour late account a late L&N 99 (I was aboard) and the connection being made at Carrolton Ave rather than NOUPT, SP1 "held its own" to Houston and then started to recover the time. Meets with EB freights were so effortless one would have thought the T&NO was a double tracked road. Sunset was on time by Sanderson and of course into El Paso.

Mr. Schillinger, sorry this was all "before your time"; had you been there, you could well share my present lack of desire to 'ride just to ride', as distinct from ride if "there's somewhere to go and it's convenient".

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HopefulRailUser
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Henry - in relation to worrying about trains not being on time - I don't worry about it and plan my connections, changes of clothing and other activities accordingly. I was 7 hours late coming home to Los Angeles on the SL last January. And the Coast Starlight was 12 hours late on Tuesday (Wednesday?) of this week. But - Amtrak seems always to be surprised by their own lateness and runs out of food, drink and pleasant staff. Perhaps they should prepare for lateness just as we do instead of pretending it is an anomaly.

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Vicki in usually sunny Southern California

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SunsetLtd
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quote:
Originally posted by Gilbert B Norman:
Mr. Schillinger, sorry this was all "before your time"; had you been there, you could well share my present lack of desire to 'ride just to ride', as distinct from ride if "there's somewhere to go and it's convenient".

Yes I do kinda wish I was alive during the golden area of streamliners. The cloesest thing I got is my grandmother who traveled on the Daylight and Sunset regularly.

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www.youtube.com/Amsunset

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PullmanCo
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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Kisor:
Do they not realize that they are getting more train time, and for free?

I'm surprised you do not get fulminating looks!

There are a few runs where being late is a blessing: CZ into Omaha was one of them. Allowed breakfast on the train.

Even travelling for leisure; my travel is no longer just for travels' sake: It's to get someplace else and be with someone else. Reliability is part of the mix.

Granted, Amtrak's delays come from a plethora of reasons, but they are there, and they enter into my transportation decisionmaking.

Once, before I was wed and a Dad, I had the time and wherewithal to take a "next train, someplace else." I also at that time had a reliable grid (Deutsche Bundesbahn) to do said travel upon. Now, my funds have other priorities, and I'm glad you have the time and wherewithal to take a "Next train, someplace else," because it'll be at least 5 years for me!

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4021North
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quote:
The Sunset now is back to normal 7+ hour lateness.
This is pathetic.
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Henry Kisor
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Pullman, that was a half-joke about bonus train time when one is late. Vicki, like you I am always prepared, expecting the diner and lounge car to run out of supplies. A few granola bars and a good mystery novel will keep me content until the Z finally limps in at oh-dark-thirty.
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notelvis
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quote:
Originally posted by Henry Kisor:
Pullman, that was a half-joke about bonus train time when one is late. Vicki, like you I am always prepared, expecting the diner and lounge car to run out of supplies. A few granola bars and a good mystery novel will keep me content until the Z finally limps in at oh-dark-thirty.

One tactic I tried was book the northbound Coast Starlight to Portland, spend the night off the train, and then continue on to Seattle the following day.

We were about 8 hours late and it was pushing midnight when I got to my room as it was.

--------------------
David Pressley

Advocating for passenger trains since 1973!

Climbing toward 5,000 posts like the Southwest Chief ascending Raton Pass. Cautiously, not nearly as fast as in the old days, and hoping to avoid premature reroutes.

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ehbowen
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Once again I'm reminded of how far we've come from where we once were. My current project is the 1950 Powhatan Arrow. (This is pre-publication, as I'm still waiting for NS to approve the logos I used, but I hope they don't mind too much.) Take a look at that connection from Train 26 to A.C.L. Train 34. Yep, you read that right: The Arrow arrives at 10:25 p.m. The connecting train departs at 10:25 p.m. Not only that, but it's the last train of the day. But the connection is listed as official in the N&W's timetable; they expected that it would be made. After 14 hours of an all-day run from Cincinnati.

Look at how far we've come, when 7 hours behind schedule is talked about as "normal". Isn't progress wonderful?

--------------------
--------Eric H. Bowen

Stop by my website: Streamliner Schedules - Historic timetables of the great trains of the past!

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Railroad Bob
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quote:
Originally posted by SunsetLtd:
it will be faster to walk to New Orleans. maybe one day.....
[/QB]

A bit off-thread, but Mr. SunsetLtd's quote reminded me of the wonderful old Fats Domino song: Walkin' To New Orleans.
Maybe some of the older members here will remember that song... [Wink]

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PaulB
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Seriously, the SL #2 has been late enough to Pomona and Palm Springs that you could make a pretty good competitor for it by walking, or at least bike riding. I remember it arrived into Palm Springs (keep in mind this is #2!!!) around 5 AM, having left LA at 2:30PM the day before!
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