A Silver at South Station

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
If this has already been discussed, please link and disregard.

Is it a silly idea to have one Silver service train continue up to Boston?
As I was riding it north on Monday, and then changing to an Acela on Tuesday morning (along with about 10 other people from the same train going north to Boston), it occured to me to ask what the reasons are for both Silvers terminating at NYP. I assume the tracks are congested north of NYP and perhaps there isn't room. Could South Station take such a long train, especially now that the tracks have been shortened? Perhaps there really isn't a market for it to continue north and that day was just an unusual occurence.

Boy it would have been convenient.
 
Last edited:

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,922
Location
Long Island, NY
I think part of the reason lies with Metro North. There is a contractual limit on how many trains Amtrak can operate on M/N.
Thus it is much more lucrative to operate Regionals/ Acelas within the time slots that are available.
 
Joined
Jul 25, 2015
Messages
2,052
Location
Philadelphia Area
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
I think part of the reason lies with Metro North. There is a contractual limit on how many trains Amtrak can operate on M/N.
Thus it is much more lucrative to operate Regionals/ Acelas within the time slots that are available.

I guess.
From Amtrak’s perspective however, it seems like a win-win. One of their long distance trains can behave sort of like a lucrative NE regional at least until it hits Richmond.

All they would have to do is swap a silver service with a NE regional to make it work (correct me if you think it’s not that simple).

could they finagle the silver schedule so that it fulfills the same time slot vacated by the regional?
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

PVD

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Jul 8, 2015
Messages
5,911
Location
NYC/Queens
A Silver would likely be too unreliable as a Northbound to serve as a regional. You are also adding major costs by having the crew run another 5 hours, as well as not having adequate facilities in Boston to service and turn the train. Could it be done, yes. Within a rational cost benefit structure, highly doubtful.
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,089
New England at one end and Florida at the other, without having to change trains in NYC? That sounds wonderful.

Lots of logistical problems, as pointed out above. But it would be nice.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
A Silver would likely be too unreliable as a Northbound to serve as a regional. You are also adding major costs by having the crew run another 5 hours, as well as not having adequate facilities in Boston to service and turn the train. Could it be done, yes. Within a rational cost benefit structure, highly doubtful.
Could a southbound regional be hooked up to a Silver Service (and vice versa), and basically behave somewhat like the LSL. Or perhaps have the coaches portion of the train continue to Boston?

It's a shame diners and more sleepers can't be serviced in Boston. They once could, as the Night Owl had a diner at least in 2000 (i think they ditched it in 01). It would make sense to expand Boston's railway abilities, but of course, I'm biased.

At this point though, I definitely see how in Amtrak's mind, this just isn't worth it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Cal

OBS

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 9, 2011
Messages
1,922
Location
Long Island, NY
Could a southbound regional be hooked up to a Silver Service (and vice versa), and basically behave somewhat like the LSL. Or perhaps have the coaches portion of the train continue to Boston?

It's a shame diners and more sleepers can't be serviced in Boston. They once could, as the Night Owl had a diner at least in 2000 (i think they ditched it in 01). It would make sense to expand Boston's railway abilities, but of course, I'm biased.

At this point though, I definitely see how in Amtrak's mind, this just isn't worth it.
Slight correction. The Night Owl didn't have a diner. It was an Amfleet dinette car dressed up to provide diner like service. This was during its "Twilight Shoreliner" days.
 

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
Slight correction. The Night Owl didn't have a diner. It was an Amfleet dinette car dressed up to provide diner like service. This was during its "Twilight Shoreliner" days.
Yes, I suppose I used the word diner too liberally.
I do recall having a meal in the car you described (during its TS days) that resembled a traditional dining experience of sorts (certainly the equivilant or better than what is currently provided on the SS with flex), and probably would require the same servicing as today's regualr diners.
 

bratkinson

OBS Chief
Joined
Aug 7, 2004
Messages
956
Location
QB 101
Perhaps the most likely reason for no Silver Service trains to BOS is the lack of equipment (cars) as well as adequate facilities to properly 'turn' the train in BOS. Throw in OBS time-on-duty and rest cycles, to add to the limitations that need to be addressed.

Also, would said train be 'discharge only' WAS-BOS like they are WAS-NYP today? And what about 'shorts' BOS-WAS like there is NYP-WAS today? Another consideration...can LD car doors be set to open all simultaneously like Amfleet I cars on the NEC? Would coach seating then be a 'free for all' like NEC Regional trains? What about supplies for the diner and lounge cars over and above what's needed NYP-MIA? Another consideration to be made is would it be an 'all stops' Regional train or 'limited' that mimics Acelas?

At a minimum, one entire 'set' of Silver Service equipment would be required to keep a reasonably fluid schedule even when 3-4 hour delays happen enroute. Right now, Amtrak barely has sufficient single level long distance coaches to meet demand while 'excess' brand new sleepers sit and rust in Florida. I haven't done any counts of how many Viewliner II diners are needed to service the 4 NYP-based routes using them (SS, SM, Crescent, LSL), but they'd likely have to put a spare in BOS as well as those in Sunnyside Yard (NYP). So, at a minimum, 2 more diners would be required.

A wild idea hit me while typing this...how about making a 'full' CHI-BOS LD train (the New England States?) in addition to the CHI-NYP LSL and use that equipment for the next mornings' Silver Service departure (and vice versa)?
 

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
A wild idea hit me while typing this...how about making a 'full' CHI-BOS LD train (the New England States?) in addition to the CHI-NYP LSL and use that equipment for the next mornings' Silver Service departure (and vice versa)?
This would just about make my decade if it became a reality.
Doubt there is a market for that though... Unless LSL/Ohio becomes the rail corridor it has the potential to be.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,392
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
Could a southbound regional be hooked up to a Silver Service (and vice versa), and basically behave somewhat like the LSL. Or perhaps have the coaches portion of the train continue to Boston?
Any car shuffling will have to be in Washington DC. I doubt they will ever allow car shuffling in Penn Station NY.
It's a shame diners and more sleepers can't be serviced in Boston. They once could, as the Night Owl had a diner at least in 2000 (i think they ditched it in 01). It would make sense to expand Boston's railway abilities, but of course, I'm biased.
In 2000 it would have been the Northeast Direct Twilight Shoreliner, and no it did not have a Diner.
At this point though, I definitely see how in Amtrak's mind, this just isn't worth it.
The basic problem is that the Northbound would be too unreliable to substitute for a Regional. Also, one would need to add many more Coaches to it at Washington DC since you cannot substitute a train with 6 or 7 high density Coaches by one that has 2 or 3 or even 4 low density Coaches. It miht be more feasible to switch a Sleeper to a Regional at Washington DC, but with the unreliability caveat. Moving a Sleeper and a Coach would be a much bigger challenge.

Indeed the trouble and added cost at Southampton St. will never be recovered in terms of the additional revenue generated. Southampton St. has not serviced a Diner after it was downsized a rebuilt targetd towards Corridor and Acela service. Basically the most non Coach that they have serviced is two Sleepers (LSL and 66/67 NED or NER). Actually, I am not even sure that they have a storage track available to service an extra LD set at presnt. There may be some capital investment needed too possibly.
 

Tlcooper93

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 9, 2021
Messages
497
Location
Boston
Any car shuffling will have to be in Washington DC. I doubt they will ever allow car shuffling in Penn Station NY.

In 2000 it would have been the Northeast Direct Twilight Shoreliner, and no it did not have a Diner.

The basic problem is that the Northbound would be too unreliable to substitute for a Regional. Also, one would need to add many more Coaches to it at Washington DC since you cannot substitute a train with 6 or 7 high density Coaches by one that has 2 or 3 or even 4 low density Coaches. It miht be more feasible to switch a Sleeper to a Regional at Washington DC, but with the unreliability caveat. Moving a Sleeper and a Coach would be a much bigger challenge.

Indeed the trouble and added cost at Southampton St. will never be recovered in terms of the additional revenue generated. Southampton St. has not serviced a Diner after it was downsized a rebuilt targetd towards Corridor and Acela service. Basically the most non Coach that they have serviced is two Sleepers (LSL and 66/67 NED or NER). Actually, I am not even sure that they have a storage track available to service an extra LD set at presnt. There may be some capital investment needed too possibly.
Thanks for the info.
Kind of like I used the word diner too liberally, I also used the name Night Owl too liberally.
The ticket from November of 2000 reads Twilight Shoreliner, but I’ll take your word for it on the nomenclature.

Yes, as someone else mentioned, the dining experience I had in 2000 was a dinette dressed up to provide a semblance of traditional dining. By today’s standards however, it was essentially traditional dining.
 

west point

Engineer
Joined
Jun 9, 2015
Messages
2,785
MNRR has the problem of being a 4 main track RR with portions only 3 main tracks and for several months every other year only 2 main track sections. It all about the various swing bridge replacements. Right now it is Walk bridge that will be replaced by 2 independent lift spans.
 

Brian Battuello

Lead Service Attendant
AU Lifetime Supporter
Joined
Jul 23, 2014
Messages
439
Location
Arlington, MA (near Boston)
MNRR has the problem of being a 4 main track RR with portions only 3 main tracks and for several months every other year only 2 main track sections. It all about the various swing bridge replacements. Right now it is Walk bridge that will be replaced by 2 independent lift spans.
Got to say one thing about metro north, they keep up on their track maintenance.
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,665
Location
Baltimore. MD
Got to say one thing about metro north, they keep up on their track maintenance.
Yeah, for the last 20 years they've been doing enough track work to ensure that there are always tracks out of service and slow trains due to congestion. It's not just the Acelas that poke along at 35 mph, I've ridden Metro-North trains that also creep along while the cars on parallel I-95 just whiz right by. Traffic and parking in Manhattan must be really bad that enough people still ride Metro-North to keep it in business.
 

cocojacoby

OBS Chief
Joined
May 13, 2014
Messages
593
Location
Boston & Florida
One thing not mentioned is the baggage situation. When my wife and I traveled to and from Florida, we had to bring our luggage to South Station the night before and go back and pick it up the day after we arrived. A big hassle and not something most people would be willing to do.

We would have loved to have a through service on a Silver train. It could have even run via the inland route to serve bigger cities (Worcester, Springfield* and Hartford) and avoid the drawbridge restrictions in Connecticut.

* Note: Springfield is only a 4 hour and 40 minute drive from Montreal. Ambus?
 
Last edited:

crescent-zephyr

Engineer
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
3,917
Of course there should be a thru-train from Boston to Florida. There should also be a Boston to Chicago train separate from the Lake Shore that would cancel out the long dwell time to split the trains.

So many things that Amtrak does only make sense for their own convenience.
 

Seaboard92

Engineer
Joined
Dec 31, 2014
Messages
4,321
Location
South Carolina
There should also be an Atlanta to Boston train as well (in addition to the Crescent)
If I were to do that I would actually say turn the Night Owl into that train because you could get a day train from WAS-ATL which would be amazing for ridership. It would be a long day but doable.

As far as a regular Silver to Boston the problem you don't have a super large equipment problem if you would run identical Stars and Meteors because they don't same day in NYS. So in theory you could have 98 become 91 and 92 become 97 at Boston. Which would mimic the crew rotations the OBS used to have.
 
Joined
Mar 20, 2009
Messages
9,735
Location
x
This discussion about extending the Silver's, and previous discussion's we've had about extending east/west trains coast to coast has made me question just what percentage of traveler's going thru the current New York, or Chicago, or (New Orleans) transfer points, would truly make these extensions cost-effective, or viable?🤔
 

MARC Rider

Engineer
Joined
Apr 5, 2011
Messages
3,665
Location
Baltimore. MD
If I were to do that I would actually say turn the Night Owl into that train because you could get a day train from WAS-ATL which would be amazing for ridership. It would be a long day but doable.
The problem with that is that, based on prior experience, keeping the train to schedule would be difficult, and if the northbound is also the Night Owl, then it's possible that the "Night Owl" might become a day train most of the time and thus lose its utility.
 

jis

Engineer
AU Lifetime Supporter
Gathering Team Member
Joined
Aug 24, 2003
Messages
29,392
Location
Space Coast, Florida, Area code 3-2-1
The problem with that is that, based on prior experience, keeping the train to schedule would be difficult, and if the northbound is also the Night Owl, then it's possible that the "Night Owl" might become a day train most of the time and thus lose its utility.
For exactly those reasons I think it is a horrible idea to extend the Night Owl beyond Virginia in any way shape or form. If we want a day train to Atlanta we should handle that separately and make it a Washington DC to Atlanta train, or even NY to Atlanta train departing and arriving NY at some godawful hour, to ensure that it remains a day train south of Washington and arrives in Atlanta at something earlier than godawful hour. There should be no problem finding one more slot between Washington and New York at Oh-dark-thirty hours.
 

enviro5609

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 10, 2021
Messages
39
Location
New York
Yeah, for the last 20 years they've been doing enough track work to ensure that there are always tracks out of service and slow trains due to congestion. It's not just the Acelas that poke along at 35 mph, I've ridden Metro-North trains that also creep along while the cars on parallel I-95 just whiz right by. Traffic and parking in Manhattan must be really bad that enough people still ride Metro-North to keep it in business.
It is really bad. Parking especially. A monthly garage permit alone usually costs more than a monthly train pass.
 
Top