A Modest Proposal

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Qapla

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I have only taken the SunRail once, so far. I have a friend that has never ridden the train and we are planning to ride down to Kissimmee for a "day trip". We will catch the SM at PAK and ride to Kissimmee to have lunch. Then we will catch the SS back to PAK.

To check things out before we take that trip, he only has one leg so we don't want to have to walk too far, I went down there and tried one of the eating places. I wanted to ride SunRail and had the time - not to mention I get the reduced fare ticket on SunRail. I plan to go again and try a different place for lunch.

Would be happy to meet some for lunch ...
 

jis

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Moving this meet up conversation to PM, Check your messages on AU (Qapla, pennyk)
 

pennyk

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@pennyk If you live within walking distance of the Depot in Orlando - maybe you would like to ride to Kissimmee on SunRail when I head down there to have pizza (well, actually, it is to ride the train - I drive to DeBary and catch SunRail to Kissimmee)
"Walking distance" may be a bit of a stretch. Although I have walked home from the station, it was in winter. I live close to three miles from the station; however, I live less than a mile from the Lynx SunRail station. I often take SunRail to the Orlando station.
 

sttom

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4) Add more Thruway connections, especially to popular tourist destinations. Discontinue if they're not profitable (on a basis of crediting them with all rail ticket revenue from connection against costs of running that bus) after a few years grace period.

5) Convince DOT to require a detailed timetable of how any new service will increase to a minimum of 10 daily round trips in order to be eligible for any grants and to prioritize grant allocation on the basis of adding additional frequencies. Quoth the FRA back in 1978:
Connecting bus services are always a bit of a double edged sword, they'll get some people to choose Amtrak, but will turn away others. Part of the reason why I won't take Amtrak from the Bay Area to Reno is the bus portion is far longer than the train part of the trip. If I had to transfer to an eBART style DMU I'd be ok with that as a connection. It would be better if the trains ran all the way through to Reno, but that's already a decade late and probably another decade off at the earliest, unless Sisolak is more friendly to mass transit that Sandoval was.

As for point 5, why 10 trips a day? Starting with 4 trips a day with a grant to operate for 4 years would make more sense as a starting point. And if the line is justified, expanding it to 8 trips since that would allow clock face scheduling at 120 minute intervals. Clock face scheduling has been shown to increase transit usage since people know what minute a train will show up at, making it an easier choice. A 10 trip service would in some, if not many cases lead to trains being scattered throughout the day evenly, making the schedule harder to remember and that becoming a barrier to use.
 

sttom

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As for responding to the initial post, it would be nice if some of the long distance trains ran more than once a day, but the Starlight is a far better candidate for a second daily run than the Sunset would be. Sure a faster corridor between SoCal and Phoenix might make sense, but the entirety of the line would be hard to justify.

I would like to see the feds make deals with equipment manufactures like Alstom and Siemens so equipment can be bought more easily and hopefully cheaper. There is no real reason why Alstom shouldn't have made the third round of California Cars beyond the federal government insisting on always going with the lowest bidder when they fund things. This is beyond mentioning the State of California commissioned that the designs get made in the first place. My point is, is there should be a set of common designs that Amtrak or state supported Amtrak can all use from any manufacturer at a pre negotiated price.

I would also like to see the feds actually bankroll new services. Some states are reluctant to gamble their own money on new services, and highways get a minimum of 75% of the capital funding met by Congress. There is no reason why we can't stick a few billion more into jump starting corridor services when even Congress admits it saves them money in the long run.
 

Qapla

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Something simple that they could do "right away" is ... Advertise!When is the last time you saw an ad for Amtrak on the TV? or heard one on the radio?

Some of the airlines have ads on TV ... why not Amtrak?
 

sttom

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Something simple that they could do "right away" is ... Advertise!When is the last time you saw an ad for Amtrak on the TV? or heard one on the radio?

Some of the airlines have ads on TV ... why not Amtrak?
The radio station I listen to on the way to work has traffic reports sponsored by Amtrak from time to time.
 

Qapla

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Not sure where you live ... but, here in Fl where I live I have not heard or seen an ad for Amtrak in so many years I cannot remember the last time was :confused:
 

sttom

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I live in California so we at least have service throughout a good chunk of the day. So it makes sense that I'd hear some ads once and a while.
 

Qapla

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Perhaps I should rephrase my question ... how often do you hear ads for Amtrak Long Distance trains
  • as a way to see America
  • the ease of travel
  • free carry on and checked baggage
  • sleepers
 

sttom

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They just advertise for Amtrak in general, not just the local trains. They are trying to sell people on connecting with others while you travel.
 

neroden

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What about extending the Palmetto to Jacksonville. this would then give Jacksonville a morning departure to the northeast.
As usual, this would happen if the Florida state government or the Jacksonville city government wanted it to happen and put in money. But they don't care.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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As usual, this would happen if the Florida state government or the Jacksonville city government wanted it to happen and put in money. But they don't care.
Why should Florida have to pay for an extension? It's an LD train. It's a worthless train right now unless you live in South Carolina/Georgia. Either extend it to Florida or get rid of it.
 

railiner

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I think there's enough business on the Florida routes to warrant extending it all the way to Miami...
 

jis

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I think there's enough business on the Florida routes to warrant extending it all the way to Miami...
As long as one can find the equipment to do so. Extending to Miami will require two additional consists. Extending to JAX could be done with zero additional consist with a little timetable fixing and tightening, but still requires additional T&E crew and OBS crew since they have no hope of getting a reasonable break at JAX. Worst case it would require one additional consist. But suffice it to say, at present there are no additional consists to be had on a regular reliable basis, without robbing some Peter somewhere else, to pay this Paul. Then the question is does Paul make up the revenue lost by Peter. So, yeah, not so simple.
 

TWA904

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I think there's enough business on the Florida routes to warrant extending it all the way to Miami...
I agree with extending the train to Miami, but since the thread is titled " A Modest Proposal" Is why I only suggested Jacksonville. I'd also run it on the route thru Waldo, Ocala and Wildwood to Lakeland om to Miami.
 

jis

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I agree with extending the train to Miami, but since the thread is titled " A Modest Proposal" Is why I only suggested Jacksonville. I'd also run it on the route thru Waldo, Ocala and Wildwood to Lakeland om to Miami.
That train has left the station with the transfer of trackage from CSX to SunRail. Part of that agreement is - no passenger trains via Ocala, so that is not going to happen, unless of course CSX becomes much more benevolent or decides to sell their business in Florida.
 

Siegmund

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What about extending the Palmetto to Jacksonville.
This was done from 1988 to 2004 (and from 1994-2004 it was a 3rd overnight train across Florida too), and without state subsidy.

I am not sure why it didn't stick, aside from the somewhat unappealing schedule - it was a midnightish arrival into Jacksonville. For a long time Florida service was the best patronized of all the eastern routes and seemed an obvious candidate for 3 or 4 round trips a day.
 

Qapla

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Terminating in Jax allows for a turn-around of the train since there is a wye.

Instead of running all the way to Miami - it would work if it went to Orlando and then back north. Going through Waldo, Ocala and WIldwood would encourage addition riders since Waldo could service Gainesville and the University of Florida.

Getting CSX to agree to this would be as difficult as getting the Waldo and Ocala depots back operational.
 

jis

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There is at least a possibility of doing JAX without needing any extra equipment. Orlando without extra equipment is out of the question.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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Another issue with Orlando is the schedule. If the Palmetto was kept on the current schedule north of Savannah, it would depart Jacksonville around 6 AM northbound and arrive just before midnight southbound. Meanwhile Orlando would be in the middle of the night both ways and necessitate additional equipment as mentioned. Service to Miami would also require the additional trainset, but the Jacksonville-West Palm Beach segment via the SM route is virtually the perfect length for an overnight run. Service via the SS route would provide better times for Tampa than Orlando, although they still wouldn't be great unless the schedule was intentionally lengthened. That would also likely mean two additional trainsets, as a same-day turn in Miami would no longer be possible.
 

Qapla

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Of course, the train could shortcut Orlando and go through Plant City and on to Tampa - thus giving a Jax-Tampa extension to the train ... since it turns around in Tampa anyway.
 

jis

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Of course, the train could shortcut Orlando and go through Plant City and on to Tampa - thus giving a Jax-Tampa extension to the train ... since it turns around in Tampa anyway.
I think people are just having wet dreams when they are thinking they will get to run anything through Ocala in the foreseeable future. o_O The only way trains will get from JAX to Miami or Tampa will be through Orlando.
 

Qapla

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I agree, it is not likely - especially since the stations in Waldo and Ocala are no longer active, functioning stations and CSX is not eager to have passengers trains on additional tracks

And, of course, there cannot be any trains that would go through Waldo and into Gainesville, either ... since the tracks were removed about 40 years ago
 
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