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Amtrak should have an overnight LA-Bay Area train

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ParanoidAndroid

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There's now on overnight bus from LA to San Franfrisco at a moderate price. It's time for Amtrak to step it up and bring back the Spirit of California. Preferably from San Diego to Sacramento along the coastal route.
 

AutoTrDvr

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Would not the "Coast Starlight" cover most of this journey as is, anyway?  Unless you're talking about altering the route to come directly up to San Francisco (ie western side of the bay).

That said, to be honest, I would think this is more suited for a High Speed Rail line (LAX <---> SFO). 
 

BCL

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Would not the "Coast Starlight" cover most of this journey as is, anyway?  Unless you're talking about altering the route to come directly up to San Francisco (ie western side of the bay).

That said, to be honest, I would think this is more suited for a High Speed Rail line (LAX <---> SFO). 
I believe the question is whether this could be an overnight trip - and possibly one that doesn't take 13 hours to get from Martinez to LAUS.
 

BCL

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It wouldn't be along the coast, but there's been talk for years about extending the San Joaquin all the way to LA.  The sticking point is the Tehachapi Loop, which is in the process of being double tracked now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6t3rouIkbM

Not sure if it would be practical to make it overnight though, since the staffer stations along the way would then need to open in the middle of the night, or they wouldn't offer baggage service to a closed station.  It shouldn't be an issue with an unstaffed station.
 
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Anthony V

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It wouldn't be along the coast, but there's been talk for years about extending the San Joaquin all the way to LA.  The sticking point is the Tehachapi Loop, which is in the process of being double tracked now.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z6t3rouIkbM

Not sure if it would be practical to make it overnight though, since the staffer stations along the way would then need to open in the middle of the night, or they wouldn't offer baggage service to a closed station.  It shouldn't be an issue with an unstaffed station.
Heavy freight traffic over the Tehachapi Pass currently precludes any passenger traffic from using the route (other than the occasional Coast Starlight detour), which is why the San Joaquin terminates at Bakersfield, with bus connections to SoCal. In the unlikely event that a regular passenger train operating over Tehachapi Pass, it would likely be just one round trip a day. Most of the San Joaquins would still require a bus connection to get to SoCal. OTOH, if the California HSR line is built between BFD and LA, the San Joaquins could use that dedicated passenger route to get to Los Angeles.
 

BCL

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Heavy freight traffic over the Tehachapi Pass currently precludes any passenger traffic from using the route (other than the occasional Coast Starlight detour), which is why the San Joaquin terminates at Bakersfield, with bus connections to SoCal. In the unlikely event that a regular passenger train operating over Tehachapi Pass, it would likely be just one round trip a day. Most of the San Joaquins would still require a bus connection to get to SoCal. OTOH, if the California HSR line is built between BFD and LA, the San Joaquins could use that dedicated passenger route to get to Los Angeles.
The current issue is that it's slow single-tracking through the loop.  I understand that part of the double-tracking is already complete as are several sidings.  That would really increase the amount of traffic that could go through the loop.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Would not the "Coast Starlight" cover most of this journey as is, anyway?  Unless you're talking about altering the route to come directly up to San Francisco (ie western side of the bay).

That said, to be honest, I would think this is more suited for a High Speed Rail line (LAX <---> SFO). 
I believe the latest on CASHR now has direct LA to San Fran service now at 2040! I would probably be seeking alternatives.
 

Anthony V

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The current issue is that it's slow single-tracking through the loop.  I understand that part of the double-tracking is already complete as are several sidings.  That would really increase the amount of traffic that could go through the loop.
I hope you're right. It would be nice to have a regular passenger train going over the Tehachapi Loop, not only for scenery, but also for connections that are not bus-based.
 

BCL

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I hope you're right. It would be nice to have a regular passenger train going over the Tehachapi Loop, not only for scenery, but also for connections that are not bus-based.
There are articles on the double tracking.  I don't really have a great lay of the land, but it looks like the loop itself is now double-tracked, as are several of the segments around it.  I remember some talk about possibly extending some San Joaquin trains to LA if they could negotiate it through UP.  Having that extra capacity would be nice, but it might be something that UP and BNSF would rather give to more freight slots.

https://csengineermag.com/article/double-tracking-in-the-tehachapi-mountains/

https://www.theloopnewspaper.com/story/2017/06/10/local-news/moving-mountains-to-ease-train-traffic-jams/3631.html
 
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CCC1007

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There are articles on the double tracking.  I don't really have a great lay of the land, but it looks like the loop itself is now double-tracked, as are several of the segments around it.  I remember some talk about possibly extending some San Joaquin trains to LA if they could negotiate it through UP.  Having that extra capacity would be nice, but it might be something that UP and BNSF would rather give to more freight slots.
https://csengineermag.com/article/double-tracking-in-the-tehachapi-mountains/
https://www.theloopnewspaper.com/story/2017/06/10/local-news/moving-mountains-to-ease-train-traffic-jams/3631.html
So from what I can see, the sidings of marcel and walong were connected, but walong hasn’t been connected to woodford with double track yet.
 

cpotisch

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Is the Tehachapi detour particularly scenic or anything or is it just that it's a rare detour so people get hyped up about it?
 

ehbowen

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Is the Tehachapi detour particularly scenic or anything or is it just that it's a rare detour so people get hyped up about it?
Mostly the latter, but there's substantially more opportunity for intermediate local traffic through the Central Valley than there is along the Coast Line anywhere north of Santa Barbara.
 

Anthony V

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Mostly the latter, but there's substantially more opportunity for intermediate local traffic through the Central Valley than there is along the Coast Line anywhere north of Santa Barbara.
While I have yet to ride a Coast Starlight Tehachapi detour in person, I watched a video of a ride shot from the rear platform of a private observation car, and thought parts of it were scenic. There were some parts of the ride that included views reminiscent of those seen when riding the California Zephyr through the Rockies, minus the snow-capped mountains.
 

BCL

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Is the Tehachapi detour particularly scenic or anything or is it just that it's a rare detour so people get hyped up about it?
I think it's a chance at some serious rail fanning.  I don't believe there are any other spiral loops operating in the US other than heritage railroads.
 

BCL

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Mostly the latter, but there's substantially more opportunity for intermediate local traffic through the Central Valley than there is along the Coast Line anywhere north of Santa Barbara.
I think they could probably do it in 8 hours.  I wonder how many people don't think about using rail because they would need a bus transfer at Bakersfield.
 

sttom

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The Spirit of California from what I have dug up left LA late in the day and arrived in Sacramento in the morning. Amtrak should re open it and similar overnight trains with the stripped down accommodations. Like adapting lie flat business seats and bringing back open sections. I say this because Amtrak needs to find a way to bring more people onto trains. Having overnight trains with stripped down accommodation with a similar upgrade cost to business class, that would be an incentive to take a train on a longer trip. 2-4 hours is one thing, but anything longer than that needs to be high speed or an overnight train. Since Amtrak has no plans for the former, bringing a low cost version of the latter is a viable option. The problem is getting the money and not scrapping the Amfleet cars.  
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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The Spirit of California from what I have dug up left LA late in the day and arrived in Sacramento in the morning. Amtrak should re open it and similar overnight trains with the stripped down accommodations. Like adapting lie flat business seats and bringing back open sections. I say this because Amtrak needs to find a way to bring more people onto trains. Having overnight trains with stripped down accommodation with a similar upgrade cost to business class, that would be an incentive to take a train on a longer trip. 2-4 hours is one thing, but anything longer than that needs to be high speed or an overnight train. Since Amtrak has no plans for the former, bringing a low cost version of the latter is a viable option. The problem is getting the money and not scrapping the Amfleet cars.  
http://timetables.org/full.php?group=19830424&amp;item=0051
 

chakk

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I hope you're right. It would be nice to have a regular passenger train going over the Tehachapi Loop, not only for scenery, but also for connections that are not bus-based.
Passenger train routing with current track requires nearly twice as much time between LA and Bakersfield as the bus connection.
 
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