Amtrak Hubs

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railiner

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AA has systematically closed several hubs or at least so-called "focus cities", after acquiring various carrier's...most notably perhaps, TWA's at St. Louis.
 

west point

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And, by doing so have cost those cities and their taxpayers who invested in their airports because their airport was a hub for one or more airlines, DAY and PIT as two examples, much money with facilities that are now severely underutilized.
Raleigh was a very big hub and the airport built new terminals , concourses. and a new 10000ft runway. Also a 12 foot tall deer exclusion fence. Then AA and others pulled out. Now have no idea what they are doing to finance all those "improvements"
 

glensfallsse

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This is too interesting (even if it's meaningless) a topic to pass up. For me, the term "hub," as used by airlines, means you're using a location where lots of passengers go there expressly to change planes and move on to somewhere else. A few opportunities to change doesn't constitute a hub, that's more like a "focus city." For instance, if you fly Southwest you can change flights at Albany, and some do, but none of us would see it as a hub (and I know Southwest doesn't use the term "hub," but as passengers, we would see BWI and Midway as hubs, because that's where we change to go somewhere else).

I would argue that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are only true hubs in the Amtrak system. Washington is a maybe, but the vast majority of passengers using that station are passing through or starting/finishing their journey. Same is true for Philly. Not many people take a train to Philly, get out and go into the station, then get back on another train to go elsewhere, unless I'm missing something.

But it's a fun argument to have.
 

jiml

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Raleigh was a very big hub and the airport built new terminals , concourses. and a new 10000ft runway. Also a 12 foot tall deer exclusion fence. Then AA and others pulled out. Now have no idea what they are doing to finance all those "improvements"
Ah yes, as a longtime AA flyer I well remember the hub and the flight through there to London. One of the big pharma companies was behind it but would only let their employees fly coach, so it quickly became the worst-kept secret of frequent flyer upgrades. I benefited more than once.😇
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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This is too interesting (even if it's meaningless) a topic to pass up. For me, the term "hub," as used by airlines, means you're using a location where lots of passengers go there expressly to change planes and move on to somewhere else. A few opportunities to change doesn't constitute a hub, that's more like a "focus city." For instance, if you fly Southwest you can change flights at Albany, and some do, but none of us would see it as a hub (and I know Southwest doesn't use the term "hub," but as passengers, we would see BWI and Midway as hubs, because that's where we change to go somewhere else).

I would argue that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are only true hubs in the Amtrak system. Washington is a maybe, but the vast majority of passengers using that station are passing through or starting/finishing their journey. Same is true for Philly. Not many people take a train to Philly, get out and go into the station, then get back on another train to go elsewhere, unless I'm missing something.

But it's a fun argument to have.
Washington almost certainly has a higher percentage of connecting passengers than New York. It might even have more overall. Based on connections, I would consider Chicago the largest hub, followed by Washington and then New York. Then LA 4th and Sacramento 5th. If you were to go by percentage of connecting passengers rather than raw number, Pittsburgh may actually be #1 despite only having two daily round trips.
 

glensfallsse

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Washington almost certainly has a higher percentage of connecting passengers than New York. It might even have more overall. Based on connections, I would consider Chicago the largest hub, followed by Washington and then New York. Then LA 4th and Sacramento 5th. If you were to go by percentage of connecting passengers rather than raw number, Pittsburgh may actually be #1 despite only having two daily round trips.
Can't argue with you on this.
 
Joined
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I do not know if you would consider this a hub city but many railroad timetables before Amtrak had 2-3 pages listing connections with other railroads at major cities. I always found this helpful
 

trainman74

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Apr 7, 2011
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I do not know if you would consider this a hub city but many railroad timetables before Amtrak had 2-3 pages listing connections with other railroads at major cities. I always found this helpful
A list of Chicago connections was an off-and-on feature in the Amtrak system timetable (this example is from 2010):

 

Devil's Advocate

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I wouldn't call SAS a hub but we do have terminating service with connections, protect cars, house tracks, hotel power, a crew base, maintenance, fuel, and cleaning services. As with FTW I’d say we’re more of a crossroads than a hub or focus city. As for airlines I keep hearing that the hub and spoke model is dying out but around 90% of my trips remain to or through a hub.
 
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west point

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Atlanta ga airport is certainly a hub city. However it has change dramatically from its original functions. When the new terminal was opened approximately 60 - 70 percent of all boarding were connecting passengers depending on the season. The terminal was designed for that metric basically Delta and Eastern airlines set it up with all the other airlines put on concourse T or D.
Now the metric has changed with about 60 - 70 percent originating. That has caused problems with the design that is slowly being corrected at great cost. Fortunately MARTA station is at the west end of terminal. That rail station had 10% of all passenger on the rail system last I heard. Driving to drop or pick up a passenger is or can be a night mare.
 
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jebr

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Washington almost certainly has a higher percentage of connecting passengers than New York. It might even have more overall. Based on connections, I would consider Chicago the largest hub, followed by Washington and then New York. Then LA 4th and Sacramento 5th. If you were to go by percentage of connecting passengers rather than raw number, Pittsburgh may actually be #1 despite only having two daily round trips.
I'd probably agree if we're looking at long-distance train connections, but factoring in regional connections (say, from a Northeast Regional to an Empire Service train) New York probably has more connections. New Haven would also be high up there, though a lot of it may be non-Amtrak regional and commuter service, so it'd be harder to parse out. It probably beats Sacramento, though, even just Amtrak to Amtrak.
 

NSC1109

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Raleigh was a very big hub and the airport built new terminals , concourses. and a new 10000ft runway. Also a 12 foot tall deer exclusion fence. Then AA and others pulled out. Now have no idea what they are doing to finance all those "improvements"
RDU is now a focus city for Delta to compete with the AA CLT hub
 

NSC1109

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This is too interesting (even if it's meaningless) a topic to pass up. For me, the term "hub," as used by airlines, means you're using a location where lots of passengers go there expressly to change planes and move on to somewhere else. A few opportunities to change doesn't constitute a hub, that's more like a "focus city." For instance, if you fly Southwest you can change flights at Albany, and some do, but none of us would see it as a hub (and I know Southwest doesn't use the term "hub," but as passengers, we would see BWI and Midway as hubs, because that's where we change to go somewhere else).

I would argue that Chicago, New York and Los Angeles are only true hubs in the Amtrak system. Washington is a maybe, but the vast majority of passengers using that station are passing through or starting/finishing their journey. Same is true for Philly. Not many people take a train to Philly, get out and go into the station, then get back on another train to go elsewhere, unless I'm missing something.

But it's a fun argument to have.
I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s meaningless. If it were, I wouldn’t have started the thread.

I started the thread to try and figure out if Amtrak had defined (for lack of a better term) exactly where their hubs are. Having an organized and orderly network makes growing easier. Maybe “hub” isn’t quite the correct term for it but I would envision that a major city with significant O&T traffic and/or connections to other services would qualify as a hub.

That’s why I posted those maps on the first page; it shows that Amtrak’s major stations are all on the coasts with the exception of Chicago. The Great Plains is almost devoid of service, and I believe that services based out of Denver would be a great way to expand the network. Additionally, having trains service San Francisco directly, instead of via Jack London Square in Oakland, would allow for direct service from LA as well as a proper terminating point for the CZ. This would be doable; CalTrains wants to move their services to the new transportation hub that was recently completed and electrify the line. Give the current station to Amtrak, remodel it, and you have a new terminus right there. The logistics would have to be worked out, but it’s a decent idea.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I wouldn’t necessarily say it’s meaningless. If it were, I wouldn’t have started the thread.

I started the thread to try and figure out if Amtrak had defined (for lack of a better term) exactly where their hubs are. Having an organized and orderly network makes growing easier. Maybe “hub” isn’t quite the correct term for it but I would envision that a major city with significant O&T traffic and/or connections to other services would qualify as a hub.

That’s why I posted those maps on the first page; it shows that Amtrak’s major stations are all on the coasts with the exception of Chicago. The Great Plains is almost devoid of service, and I believe that services based out of Denver would be a great way to expand the network. Additionally, having trains service San Francisco directly, instead of via Jack London Square in Oakland, would allow for direct service from LA as well as a proper terminating point for the CZ. This would be doable; CalTrains wants to move their services to the new transportation hub that was recently completed and electrify the line. Give the current station to Amtrak, remodel it, and you have a new terminus right there. The logistics would have to be worked out, but it’s a decent idea.
A major problem with direct service to San Francisco is it would only make sense coming from the south in the absence of an extremely expensive tunnel. The CZ, Capitol Corridor, and San Joaquins all come from the north or east. I would like to see better use/marketing of the BART connection at Richmond. Every time I've taken Amtrak to SF I've gone that way and it is easy. For a rapid transit system there is a lot of room and it provides direct service to multiple stations in downtown SF. For service from the south on the CS Caltrain is also a good option, although from what I remember the connections don't work out that well.
 

Palmland

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Yes, West Point, and I took advantage of it several times transferring from Southern’s Pelican to L&N’s Georgian, as well as those railroads Dixie Flyer and Birmingham special. But, far more likely, as you and Traveler mentioned, is the much larger natural hub of Atlanta.

There, the first step would seem to be a state supported train first to Macon and then Savannah for connection to Amtrak east coast trains. And, there has been talk about an Amtrak daylight train to Charlotte and perhaps a revival of service to Montgomery and Mobile. But of course this all depends on the state and city making a commitment to a new terminal and state supported services. Both seem unlikely at this point so I suspect it will take federal initiative and funding to get it jump started.
 
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I would agree that a "hub" would need to be a station where LD train service starts or stops. I'll add that it would also need to be an express train that ran between two hubs.

The only Amtrak train I can think of that would fit that, would be the Autotrain.

While this doesn't exist, a Silver could be such a train, if it (for example) stopped/started at Orlando, and from Orlando, passengers would transfer to a "local" Sunrail train to continue onto other Florida cities.
I had that same idea of having Amtrak just start/end their services at the new Brightline facility that's being built south of Orlando International Airport once complete. You would have Amtrak Silver Service and bring the Sunset Limited back to Florida. You have the Bightline trains service cities in the southern part of the state. I'm sure that would save the 6 hour trip from Orlando to Miami when high speed rail can do it in 3. Brightline's Tampa extension wont be started for a while so you could start/end those lines in Tampa for the time being.
 

Thirdrail7

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In this case, I would be defining a hub as a point with both a major crew base and maintenance facilities as well as a terminus for both long and short distance services (Albany has a crew base as well as maintenance facilities but without a terminating LD service I would be hesitant to call it a hub, more of a focus city).
Current Hubs:
CHI
PHL
NYP
BOS
WAS
NOL
LAX
SEA
It would seem that PHL doesn't meet your established criteria for a hub. It doesn't have a LD train terminating or originating and barely has maintenance facilities.
 

dogbert617

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Aug 19, 2016
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I wouldn't call SAS a hub but we do have terminating service with connections, protect cars, house tracks, hotel power, a crew base, maintenance, fuel, and cleaning services. As with FTW I’d say we’re more of a crossroads than a hub or focus city. As for airlines I keep hearing that the hub and spoke model is dying out but around 90% of my trips remain to or through a hub.
If I recall correctly, aren't Saint Louis and Kansas City technically in the same category? These 2 stations are the start/end stations for the Missouri River Runner, which is a Missouri state supported Amtrak train. And as I remember(correct me if wrong), servicing to the Texas Eagle and Southwest Chief are done respectively in Saint Louis and Kansas City, during the smoke/stretch break.
 

NSC1109

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It would seem that PHL doesn't meet your established criteria for a hub. It doesn't have a LD train terminating or originating and barely has maintenance facilities.
I did also say short-distance services. My understanding is that the Keystone services originate and terminate at PHL with a few continuing to NYP or connecting to other trains, but all of Amtrak's schedule PDFs redirect to the "modified schedule" alert on their website, so I can't confirm that.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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I did also say short-distance services. My understanding is that the Keystone services originate and terminate at PHL with a few continuing to NYP or connecting to other trains, but all of Amtrak's schedule PDFs redirect to the "modified schedule" alert on their website, so I can't confirm that.
Under normal conditions, most continue to New York but some terminate in Philadelphia. Due the virus they have all been terminating in Philadelphia but some just starting operating through to New York again.
 

Exvalley

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A hub, in my mind, is a city that Amtrak decides to route trains to with the intent of facilitating the transfer of passengers from one train to another. Chicago definitely qualifies. New York is a close call. In my mind it isn't quite there.
 

AmtrakBlue

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I did also say short-distance services. My understanding is that the Keystone services originate and terminate at PHL with a few continuing to NYP or connecting to other trains, but all of Amtrak's schedule PDFs redirect to the "modified schedule" alert on their website, so I can't confirm that.
You can find the pre-COVID-19 time schedules here Amtrak Timetable Archives - Home
 
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