This is topic my plan for southern u.s rail travel in forum Amtrak at RAILforum.

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Posted by NativeSon5859 (Member # 2993) on :
Of course this is pure fiction in every sense of the word...but if Amtrak could pull off something similar to this, watch how much their ridership increases. They would need a few dozen more cars, though. [Smile]

• New daily Gulf Coast Limited service (train 158/159) between New Orleans and Miami, offering thru Coach and Sleeping Car service to/from Chicago via the City of New Orleans; Chicago to Miami/New Orleans and Miami/New Orleans to Chicago service will be co-marketed as City of New Orleans and Gulf Coast Limited; New Orleans to Miami and Miami to New Orleans service will be marketed as Gulf Coast Limited only; Service will provide easy daytime connections to/from the Sunset Limited in New Orleans to/from major markets such as Houston, San Antonio, Maricopa/Phoenix, Tucson, and Los Angeles.

• Sunset Limited will now operate daily and will feature a better schedule between Los Angeles and New Orleans providing new daylight service for Maricopa/Phoenix and San Antonio, and will also offer convenient overnight service in both directions between Houston and New Orleans.

• New connections from the Sunset Limited to trains 19/20, The Crescent, in New Orleans. This will provide easy connections from Texas and the Southwest to key Southeast markets: Birmingham, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Greensboro; Will provide additional option for Los Angeles-East coast passengers. Expected initial 30-50 passenger increase on both trains out of New Orleans.

• Texas Eagle will operate from Chicago to Fort Worth daily where the train will split and offer four times weekly service from Fort Worth to San Antonio and three times weekly service from Fort Worth to Los Angeles via Amarillo and El Paso. This new routing provides Dallas/Ft. Worth passengers with faster service to the West coast, and will mark Amtrak’s inaugural service to Amarillo.

• New daily Lone Star service between Houston and Fort Worth, providing connections between Houston and Oklahoma City, Little Rock, St. Louis, and Chicago.

NOL schedule:


0910 Sunset Limited LAX
1310 City of NO/Gulf Coast Ltd. CHI
1420 Gulf Coast Limited MIA
1710 Crescent NYP


1045a Crescent NYP
310p Gulf Coast Limited MIA
420p City of NO/Gulf Coast Ltd. CHI
740p Sunset Ltd. LAX
Posted by gp35 (Member # 3971) on :
That sdchedule puts the Sunset in Houston at 11:00 pm and 4:00 am. A better schedule I put together had a west bound train in Houston at 6pm and east bound at 11:00 am. This schedule works well for all the major markets on the Sunset.
Posted by NativeSon5859 (Member # 2993) on :
Actually, #1 will be in HOS from 5:35am to 6:05am, and #2 will be in HOS from 10:35pm to 11:00pm. Overnight to/from NOLA would probably drawm more pax originating in each city. Plus the connections with the Crescent (if on time, obviously) and over to Florida would be reasonable.
Posted by delvyrails (Member # 4205) on :
The Crescent's core traffic today is the overnight traffic between Washington and Atlanta. It's been said that the current Atlanta departure is the latest it could be and still attract that market. So Amtrak pretty well is stuck with the present northward schedule, at least.
Posted by NativeSon5859 (Member # 2993) on :
I just think the potential of connections to/from the Sunset would offset the frustration of a later departure time from ATL going East and an earlier departure time from ATL going West. In the end, ATL travelers would have more Amtrak destinations to choose from which only would require one change of trains. Same goes with Houston...the times might not be perfect, but at least Houston pax could have easy access to the Northeast for the first time in a long time.

If anything, maybe they could run an extra train ATL-WAS only say maybe 3 or 4 times weekly at the current (or maybe improved) schedule to take advantage of the businest travel days in the market.

Anyway, it's fun to play around things...Amtrak could have limitless possibilities of expanding service to all corners of the country if they had more equipment.
Posted by notelvis (Member # 3071) on :
There are several ideas in your plan that have merit.....a daily Gulf Coast Limited for instance.

Toying with a same day connection between the Sunset and Crescent has some merit as well.....but a couple of other things would have to happen before thatould work. First, the Sunset would have to achieve significantly more reliable timekeeping to meet the connection consistantly and secondly, as noted above, a separate train would have to operate to serve the ATL-WAS-NYP market that the Crescent would sacrifice by not leaving Atlanta until nearly midnight.

FOR THAT allow me to propose the new 'Piedmont Limited', an expansion of trains 73 and 74 which currently operate between Raleigh and Charlotte. The new northbound train would depart Atlanta around 4pm and travel via Charlotte, Greensboro, and Raleigh (around 11:00pm) to Washington (around 7:00am) and on to New York.

Just an idea.
Posted by sojourner (Member # 3134) on :
There needs to be a train that stops in Nashville. And it should stop in Chattanooga too, for musical/historical reasons

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