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» RAILforum » Passenger Trains » Amtrak » What I would cut

   
Author Topic: What I would cut
dns8560
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If I was to play devil's advocate, here are the trains I would keep. Everything else would be cancelled.

WAS-NYP-BOS
NYP-WAS-FLA
AUTO TRAIN
NYP-SYR-NIA
BOS/NYP-BUF-CHI
WAS-CLE-CHI
CHI-SLC-LAU/EME
LAU-OAK-SEA
LAU-SDG
SAC-OAK-SJC
NYP-WAS-ATL

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Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I'll take the train!

Posts: 230 | From: Ithaca, New York | Registered: May 2009  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
TwinStarRocket
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Amtrak's most popular (and least costly) LD is the Empire Builder. And it didn't make the cut?
Posts: 1564 | From: St. Paul, MN | Registered: Dec 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Gilbert B Norman
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Mr. Sommer, sometimes too much alphabet soup is served up for Lunch around here. Allow me to push the Google translate button:

As submitted:

WAS-NYP-BOS
NYP-WAS-FLA
AUTO TRAIN
NYP-SYR-NIA
BOS/NYP-BUF-CHI
WAS-CLE-CHI
CHI-SLC-LAU/EME
LAU-OAK-SEA
LAU-SDG
SAC-OAK-SJC
NYP-WAS-ATL


As corrected:

WAS-NYP-BOS
NYP-WAS-MIA
LOR-SFA
NYP-SYR-NFS
BOS/NYP-BUF-CHI
WAS-CLE-CHI
CHI-SLC-LAX/EMY
LAX-OAK-SEA
LAX-SAN
SAC-OAK-SJC
NYP-WAS-ATL

In summary, an addition would be Salt Lake City-LA; casualties would include Sunset, Chief, Empire Builder, Crescent Atlanta-New Orleans, Eagle, Pennsylvanian, City of New Orleans, Carolinian, Vermonter, Adirondack, Ethan Allen, Silver Star, Heartland Flyer, the several Midwest Corridor services, and The Downeaster.

While of course I hold (and have so held for far longer that there ever has been an internet) that the understanding of an orderly LD system phase out starting during 1976 should have moved forth, I think with regards to the several Corridors, this is too Draconian; especially in view of that Local funding is involved with some on the casualty list.

Posts: 9388 | From: Clarendon Hills, IL USA (BNSF Chicago Sub MP 18.71) | Registered: Apr 2002  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
PullmanCo
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No Yuma, no moolah.

If you advocate that for Amtrak, this is what I'll advocate to my Congresscritter, and he sits the House Transportation Committee.

HR xxxx
An Act to Abolish the National Railroad Passenger Corporation

Title I
The National Railroad Passenger Corporation will terminate operations at Midnight, 30 September, 20XX. The business offices will remain open for one year to resolve outstanding affairs of the Corporation. The National Railroad Passenger Corporation will dissolve not later than Noon, 30 September, 20XY.

Title II
Property of the Corporation will be transferred to the General Services Administration for disposal as US Government assets.

Title III
The Several States are free to form Interstate Compacts for Passenger Rail service between themselves.

Title IV
The Executive Branch is prohibited from funding any support to Interstate Compacts for Passenger Rail service.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
I rail against the folks of the Northern Flyer Alliance because of how they are getting to their goal, not that they have a good goal. Replacing intercity auto and air with rail is environmentally sound as well as economically efficient.

Those who would limit Amtrak to a select and limited set of services though, need to understand: If there is not a tangible benefit to my part of the Nation, you can fund it yourself.

Right now, with 4 movements daily, Kansas City is but a shadow of its former self. I do believe with an appropriate rate of advance, passenger rail can compete with auto for intercity travel.

No Yuma, no moolah.

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delvyrails
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dns8560,

Would you tell us:

(1) why you believe that some trains should be discontinued, and

(2) what method you used to determine the worthy and unworthy trains?

--------------------
John Pawson

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dmwnc1959
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The list leaves off or makes no mention (unless I am misreading the Alphabet Soup) of trains like the Cardinal, Carolinian, and Piedmont. The Pennsylvanian? Why cut it? It, like the Carolinian and Piedmont, provide daytime service to areas otherwise served by trains that run through at 1am or not at all.

Just because someone may not see ridership benefits of local communities doesnt mean they should be cut. The list is flawed, at best.

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The best part of life is the journey, not the destination.

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dns8560
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Remember, I am playing devil's advocate here. Much more rolling stock would be available by pruning down the system dramatically. This would allow more than once a day service on the routes retained. The CZ route would be the main east/west link. The train could split at SLC with one half proceeding to EMY and the other to LAUPT. It would be like City of Everywhere. The Pioneer could be reinstated to serve SLC-POR-SEA.

All the regional short haul trains have to go. The states should run them. They don't really signify an expansion of Amtrak.

The Empire Builder's route can be cancelled and replaced with a CZ/Pioneer route. The Cardinal could go. The Sunset could go. Imagine the convenience of having two or three trains per day on the remaining routes!

The network of services branching out from New Orleans also can be done away with. No more Sunset, CONO, or Crescent calling at NOL.

I think an important expansion would be restoration of CHI-MIA. Thruway buses from Midwest points could converge on the train at CIN.

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Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I'll take the train!

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Gilbert B Norman
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OK Mr. Sommer, it appears that your topic was ignoring the existing short distance daylight trains such as The Pennsylvanian and directed towards the existing LD system. As you noted, most of these trains away from the NECorridor and Empire Service are Locally sponsored at present.

Therefore it appears that your proposal is to kill all LD services West of Chicago and New Orleans and replace such with a "City of Everywhere" model. Likely such should be dubbed the "Everywhere West", a one-time CB&Q slogan, recognizes that CHI-DEN this operation would be over the "Q".

Possibly, the UP would accept as a "quid pro quo" restoration of service SLC-LAX and SLC-PDX in exchange for being rid of the Sunset and Eagle. However, with the double tracking of the Sunset Route coupled with informed opinion expressed in TRAINS that the intent of this expansion, namely handling Ex/Im traffic through the Port of LA, may never materialize, they may decide that continued handling of the existing Sunset is in their best interest. Regarding an increase of frequency, the understanding with the roads is "one a day' and any suggestions of additional trains would upset that "understanding" I believe is in place.

Finally, too much LD whacking could undermine the principal reason the LD's even have hung on some thirty years after they were to have been gone - that is they are the catalyst for garnering, i.e. 218+51+1, Federal level funding of what can only be considered a regional operation, the NEC, yet which happens to be the only thing Amtrak has that REALLY counts.

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PullmanCo
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IF sufficient regional service (
examples only:
KC-Dallas
KC-Omaha
KC-St Louis
KC-Denver

St Louis-Little Rock
St Louis-Des Moines
St Louis-Omaha

can displace autos (arranging cap and trade such that Amtrak has an orders of magnitude advantage over auto)...

then we can look at discarding the LD network. The national rail passenger grid would look something like SW Airlines: Multiple linkages of city pairings.

OTOH, if Amtrak and the States cannot develop that, then Mr Norman is right: The LD network is what gets 218 House and 51 Senate votes, as well as a Presidential signature. NEC+West Coast does not equal 218, and it's worse in the Senate.

BTW, a "City of Everywhere" requires an awful lot of rolling stock and support services at each switching station, having travelled UP in my youth [Smile] . You don't need to move 4 diners end to end, but you do need commissary services wherever they lay over.

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dns8560
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If anything, the Pennsylvanian should be extended to Chicago, like it once was as The Three Rivers.

--------------------
Everybody has to believe in something. I believe I'll take the train!

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TwinStarRocket
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There are several issues I have with a "City of Everywhere" as the only CHI-West Coast train.

BNSF has, over time, been the best host railroad for the LD's in terms of OTP, average speed, and possibly smooth ride. The Builder and the Chief are the fastest and most reliable trains west. If you consider an Amtrak western LD as primarily a scenic tourist train through Colorado and the Sierra, then the CZ is the one you keep. But if you feel as I do that Amtrak is a practical transportation alternative to driving and flying, then the EB and SWC are the trains of choice. If I take a western vacation, I consider Whitefish/Glacier, Albuquerque, and Flagstaff as desirable locations equal to any stop in Colorado. And CHI to LA or Seattle is quicker via BNSF.

How about CHI to MSP and KC? Do these now become daytime locals? If you want to go west from St. Louis do you now have to go to CHI or take a partially filled thruway bus. If you want to go west from MSP is a day in CHI each way acceptable? Sounds like more of a money loser to me. You are going to lose more possible city pairs as destinations than you gain with the "City of Everywhere".

Finally, as I remember from past discussions on this forum, the EB and SWC were two of the top financial performers among the LD's. I would argue that reliability and speed are a factor in the success of an LD. After so many trips through Glenwood and Gore Canyons the thrill diminishes. You may want more variety in your train ride.

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PullmanCo
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218+51+1

Amtrak needs its annual Congressional subsidy. To get that, even if the Congresscritters in the NEC states voted as a bloc, and even if the senators in the NEC states voted as a bloc, you need more Congresscritters.

Your proposal ignores that reality of life.

How do you propose to get 218 House votes and 51 Senate votes for Amtrak's year to year appropriation if you are eliminating service wholesale?

Amtrak, like it or not, is a political creature.

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delvyrails
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OK, the originator's principle seems to be that two trains per day in each direction on only one route are somehow better than having two routes withn one daily. In its first summer of operation, Amtrak ran two trains daily between Chicago and Los Angeles and return.

They never repeated that experiment. So we can assume that two separate long-distance routes will usually give a better return (economic or political) than one route doubled.

--------------------
John Pawson

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