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Author Topic: Kentucky Cardinal
Steve O.
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The short life of this train always intrigued me. IIRC, at one point, it even ran with a Superliner Sleeper.

With the poor track conditions between IND and Louisville, leading to very slow running times, I'm wondering if Amtrak truly thought this would be a successful service?

I've seen pictures of the train in its final days...2 engines and 1 Horizon coach...crossing the Ohio River in Louisville and it just makes me scratch my head. That would be an awfully long ride in a high-density coach.

Was an extension from Louisville to Nashville ever considered?

Good morning America, how are ya?

44,950 Amtrak rail miles traveled since August 18, 2003.

Posts: 135 | From: Atlanta, GA / New Orleans, LA | Registered: Jan 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I rode the "KC" back in 2003 as part of a trip to ride a special train from Nashville to Monterey, TN on the Nashville & Eastern. I stayed in the former L&N station in Nashville, which is now a very nice hotel (and the station has been beautifully restored. Shame there wasn't a train to Louisville...the Louisville station has also been nicely restored, and now serves as the central bus station and garage for the local transit system (bus garage is out back, where the passenger platforms used to be). One platform and one track remain, and they're what the KC used.

The station is stub-end, so the train had to reverse south to get to the connection to the Ohio River bridge. There's a short piece of CTC, apparently controlled by the bridgetender (who is an L&I employee). The train then stopped at Jeffersonville to pick up a lot of MHCs (the real reason for running the train) and then ambled off at 30 MPH over the worn-out bolted rail toward Indianapolis.

L&I desperately needs new rail. If that is done, operating speed (and running time) will be more reasonable, and it might be possible to think about a daylight schedule between Louisville, Indianapolis, and Chicago. But until the track is improved, there's no point in even discussing a Louisville to Nashville extension. I don't think Amtrak every seriously considered it.

Posts: 614 | From: Merchantville, NJ. USA | Registered: Aug 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I made two roundtrips on the KC during it's lifespan.....one from Jeffersonville and another after the extension into Louisville. I used the superliner roomette both times and while the speed between Louisville and Indy wasn't too horrible (it was in the middle of the night anyway.....the sway that the tall passenger cars got on that worn track was pretty frightening....it almost felt like riding a boat that was about to capsize.

Yes......there were some Grassroots Efforts to extend the train to Nashville and such could have been done without requiring additional equipment. A Nashville layover would have been 6 or 7 hours rather then the 12 or 13 it got in Jeffersonville/Louisville. I believe these efforts died out because there was no real support for them coming out of Washington or from the state of Tennessee.

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.

Posts: 4203 | From: Western North Carolina | Registered: Feb 2004  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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