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Auto Train Why not more routes?

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railiner

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This is only loosely related, but I was looking through some old timetables for the Wabash Railroad and I noticed they advertised (without any detail) “Auto Service” on several of their passenger routes. Most of their routes were in the Midwest, including St. Louis to Detroit.

I’m guessing they put an auto carrier rack on the standard passenger train, but I have no way of knowing to be sure.

I’ve looked for details elsewhere on that service, but haven't come up with anything yet.
Not sure about that, but it could have been an indicator of stations that offered car rental services.
However, besides the example NS VIA Fan showed, IIRC, B&O/C&O in the Paul Reistrup era offered a similar service...again, IIRC they called it something like "Car-Go-Rail"....not sure...🤔
 

jiml

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Not sure about that, but it could have been an indicator of stations that offered car rental services.
However, besides the example NS VIA Fan showed, IIRC, B&O/C&O in the Paul Reistrup era offered a similar service...again, IIRC they called it something like "Car-Go-Rail"....not sure...🤔
CN actually used the name "Car-Go-Rail" prior to the more recent one posted by @NS VIA Fan:
 

railiner

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jiml

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VIA was thinking of relaunching a similar service on the current Canadian and were looking for a catchy name that would capture the pace with which the train crossed the country, but apparently weren't thrilled with the suggestion "S-Car-Go". 🤣 *This is a joke btw.*
 

tgstubbs1

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That $387 fare in the brochure above for two passengers in coach (economy) along with their car for the 2200 miles trip on the Super Continental from Toronto to Edmonton would be equal to about $1900. today.

This is the same route VIA's Canadian takes today (covide aside !!)
The price of a new car has risen as well.
This results in a higher cost per mile.

"The average price of a new vehicle has topped $40,000 for the first time ever as Americans switch from passenger cars to more-expensive SUVs and pickups.

With prices rising, the average downpayment on new cars, trucks and SUVs reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter, according to analysts at car-research site Edmunds."
 

Bob Dylan

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The price of a new car has risen as well.
This results in a higher cost per mile.

"The average price of a new vehicle has topped $40,000 for the first time ever as Americans switch from passenger cars to more-expensive SUVs and pickups.

With prices rising, the average downpayment on new cars, trucks and SUVs reached an all-time high in the fourth quarter, according to analysts at car-research site Edmunds."
And now with Gas prices starting to rise, those stuck with Gas Guzzlers will regret their choice!

Never been s better time to get a Hybrid or if you're totally Urban, an Electric Vehicle!

The New Administration will re- instate the EPA and Mileage Regs that Obama had, so things should start look up on the Polution/ Mileage Front after the past 4 years of denying Science!
 

Exvalley

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Never been s better time to get a Hybrid or if you're totally Urban, an Electric Vehicle!
We leased a Chevrolet Bolt EV for my teenage son. We leased it for $199 a month with no money down. I absolutely love the car. It has tons of pep with instant torque. My son never has to ask me for gas money.

That said, while it is a perfect commuter car, it has its limitations. You can technically make long trips with it, but I would never want to. For a two car (or more) family I am completely hooked on EVs.
 

railiner

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We leased a Chevrolet Bolt EV for my teenage son. We leased it for $199 a month with no money down. I absolutely love the car. It has tons of pep with instant torque. My son never has to ask me for gas money.

That said, while it is a perfect commuter car, it has its limitations. You can technically make long trips with it, but I would never want to. For a two car (or more) family I am completely hooked on EVs.
That's why I prefer my hybrid Prius...no "range anxiety". I will only consider an EV when charging points are as widely available, and take the same length of time, as gasoline is now. The Prius is also available as a 'plug-in hybrid'...it has a much longer EV mode than mine due to larger battery, but if you do a lot of long trips as I do, it sacrifices highway MPG carrying around that extra weight. If I still commuted to work daily, then I would consider the plug in model...
 

Exvalley

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will only consider an EV when charging points are as widely available, and take the same length of time, as gasoline is now.
The good news is that charging points are already widely available. But your second point, charge time, is very valid. We are still several years away from solid state batteries that charge in a couple of minutes.

The Bolt is slower than most cars when it comes to rapid charging - but the trade off is that the battery degrades less. And in the winter the charge time is even slower. I tried it once for kicks, and let's just say that it convinced me that an electric car should really be an "around town" car. That said, think of all the time we save not having to fill up at a gas station. Those five minute stops add up. A couple of rapid charges each year on a road trip is a fair tradeoff.

The problem with a PHEV is that you still have a gasoline engine to maintain. The maintenance on an EV is practically zero. Rotate the tires, replace an air filter once in a while, and after a few years replace some fluids.
 

tgstubbs1

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And now with Gas prices starting to rise, those stuck with Gas Guzzlers will regret their choice!

Never been s better time to get a Hybrid or if you're totally Urban, an Electric Vehicle!

The New Administration will re- instate the EPA and Mileage Regs that Obama had, so things should start look up on the Polution/ Mileage Front after the past 4 years of denying Science!
A ready made, captive market for the Auto train.
They should probably install charge kiosks at all new Auto Train stations.

Some ( actually a lot) of people around here( Colorado) have those big pickups with the big wheels that stick out. They might have a little trouble fitting on the carriers.
 

Bob Dylan

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We leased a Chevrolet Bolt EV for my teenage son. We leased it for $199 a month with no money down. I absolutely love the car. It has tons of pep with instant torque. My son never has to ask me for gas money.

That said, while it is a perfect commuter car, it has its limitations. You can technically make long trips with it, but I would never want to. For a two car (or more) family I am completely hooked on EVs.
Lots of my friends have Priuses, wish I could afford one!

Even the Luxury brands like Lexus,Jaguar and Mercedes are pushing Hybrids, looks like Ford and GM might be left behind with their decision to quit building Cars and go to SUVs and Trucks,aka Gas Hogs!

Dont think your typical Big SUV/ Truck Driver wants an Electric Vehicle!
 

Dakota 400

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looks like Ford and GM might be left behind with their decision to quit building Cars and go to SUVs and Trucks,aka Gas Hogs!
I believe your "prediction" may well be right. When I went car shopping in 2019, I was dismayed at the lack of sedans that were available that were made by GM, Ford, or Chrysler. Yet, saying that, my 2020 Buick Envision with its turbo 4 cylinder is a SUV with which I am quite satisfied. Power/torque certainly exceeds the V-6 of my previous Buick LaCrosse. Gas mileage is better than I expected, but the need to use Premium gas is a negative. (Don't tell me, I know that I could probably get by with lower octane gas. But, the instructions say use Premium but I am one who tends to try to follow directions.)
 

Devil's Advocate

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That's why I prefer my hybrid Prius...no "range anxiety". I will only consider an EV when charging points are as widely available, and take the same length of time, as gasoline is now.
Range anxiety started as a pejorative term to highlight how vehicular purchases are often driven by emotional concerns rather than logic or reason. Over the years the range and speed have steadily increased but people who first balked at 40 mile batteries charging at 120V still balk at 400 mile batteries charging at 480V, probably because it was never really about evaluating fitness for purpose in the first place. Cost remains an issue, but in my view the solution is to take some of the money currently wasted on fossil fuel subsidies/deductions and redirect it toward electric vehicles.
 

railiner

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Range anxiety started as a pejorative term to highlight how vehicular purchases are often driven by emotional concerns rather than logic or reason. Over the years the range and speed have steadily increased but people who first balked at 40 mile batteries charging at 120V still balk at 400 mile batteries charging at 480V, probably because it was never really about evaluating fitness for purpose in the first place. Cost remains an issue, but in my view the solution is to take some of the money currently wasted on fossil fuel subsidies/deductions and redirect it toward electric vehicles.
Cost aside, on long highway trips, one still has to plan accordingly to find public charging stations, often not getting the benefit of the '400 mile range', if there aren't any around that distance from the last. From stats I have found on the 'net, there were about 26,000 public charging stations last July, as compared to 168.000 gasoline stations. I can refill my car in just 10 minutes, and then travel 500 miles....how long does it take a 400 mile EV to do that even at one of the "super" charging stations?
 

me_little_me

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Cost aside, on long highway trips, one still has to plan accordingly to find public charging stations, often not getting the benefit of the '400 mile range', if there aren't any around that distance from the last. From stats I have found on the 'net, there were about 26,000 public charging stations last July, as compared to 168.000 gasoline stations. I can refill my car in just 10 minutes, and then travel 500 miles....how long does it take a 400 mile EV to do that even at one of the "super" charging stations?
According to Tesla, you can charge your car up to 80% in about 30 minutes at a Supercharger station.

And since they claim many of them are near restaurants, the advantage of the gas cars is that you can stop at McDonald's instead of relaxing at a local cafe.
 

Qapla

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Having to plan your trip so you have a way to spend the 30 minutes (or longer) it takes to charge is not quite as convenient as stopping for gas when you see a low price you can take advantage of or otherwise make a much shorter stop.

If I am driving "straight through" I don't want my stops to be any longer than they have to be.
 
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jiml

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Cost aside, on long highway trips, one still has to plan accordingly to find public charging stations, often not getting the benefit of the '400 mile range', if there aren't any around that distance from the last. From stats I have found on the 'net, there were about 26,000 public charging stations last July, as compared to 168.000 gasoline stations. I can refill my car in just 10 minutes, and then travel 500 miles....how long does it take a 400 mile EV to do that even at one of the "super" charging stations?
You make an excellent point and the problem will intensify as electric-only cars become more popular. After all, how many charging stations can you have at each stop and if a partial charge needs 30 minutes, what will the lineup be like? As long as you can fuel a conventional vehicle in a couple of minutes, all-electrics will remain a tougher sell outside major centers. Also, what's going to happen when they start charging to "fuel" an electric vehicle? Hybrids make more sense for longer distance driving in the foreseeable future... that's certainly my plan moving forward.
 

Devil's Advocate

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Cost aside, on long highway trips, one still has to plan accordingly to find public charging stations, often not getting the benefit of the '400 mile range', if there aren't any around that distance from the last.
Modern electric cars handle recharge planning for you based on a variety of factors and make in-progress adjustments as necessary. If you want to stretch it as far as possible you can do that, or you can play it safe if you prefer. My longest road trips in recent memory were around 700 miles but I still had to stop more than once for reasons other than fuel. On trips like that I rarely feel like getting back on the road five or ten minutes after pulling over and prefer to stop and stretch my legs for a while.

From stats I have found on the 'net, there were about 26,000 public charging stations last July, as compared to 168.000 gasoline stations.
After all, how many charging stations can you have at each stop and if a partial charge needs 30 minutes, what will the lineup be like?
Unlike gas and diesel vehicles the vast majority of electric vehicle charging is done at home. Most owners will only need commercial charging stations for road trips and special situations. New stations are still being built while older stations are still receiving upgrades. Some have voiced concerns that our infrastructure would struggle charging so many cars at once but most home charging is done at reduced rates overnight when electrical systems are less stressed and there are plans to allow electric cars to function as emergency backups for situations like brownouts and blackouts. The largest US charging station has 50 bays and in China they're up to 70 bays apparently.
 
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Qapla

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My longest road trips in recent memory were around 700 miles but I still had to stop more than once for reasons other than fuel. On trips like that I rarely feel like getting back on the road five or ten minutes after pulling over and prefer to stop and stretch my legs for a while.
That is fine ... but, not all share your style of travel. We tend to "one-stop-shop" when we are on a long "through trip". We want to spend as little time on the road as possible and make our stops as quick as possible. We tend to grab something to eat/drink and use the restroom while one of us fuels up - when the one fueling has had time to use the restroom it is back on the road. Often this can be done in 10 minutes or less - seldom does it take more than 15 minutes.

This may be a different thing if there were auto trains going to more places and the bulk of our travel could be done while the car rode along ... figured I would try to put my post back on topic ;)
 

railiner

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That is fine ... but, not all share your style of travel. We tend to "one-stop-shop" when we are on a long "through trip". We want to spend as little time on the road as possible and make our stops as quick as possible. We tend to grab something to eat/drink and use the restroom while one of us fuels up - when the one fueling has had time to use the restroom it is back on the road. Often this can be done in 10 minutes or less - seldom does it take more than 15 minutes.
That's the way I roll. Two stops for fuel and restroom on my drive between West Palm Beach and Queens. Food? A bag of Chips Ahoy and a bottle of water works for me. YMMV.... :)
 

Palmland

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We regularly visit family in the northeast from central SC, which is about an 11 hour drive. While that is certainly doable in one day, and we have, we enjoy stopping overnight to explore a town and new restaurants. We are fortunate that we have three routes to choose: I77/81, I-26/95, I-74/64/81. All have interesting stopover cities: Winchester/Staunton, Richmond, Charlottesville.
 

tgstubbs1

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This may be a different thing if there were auto trains going to more places and the bulk of our travel could be done while the car rode along ... figured I would try to put my post back on topic ;)
Exactly. Auto train has many advantages.

Saves time for passengers.
Saves energy overall.
Saves money for passengers with high cost per mile/expensive cars.
Provides jobs for employees.
Reduces traffic on highways.
Improves safety for all concerned.

I owned two EVs back in the 90s with lead acid batteries. Range is actually determined by the number of power pulses used.
Imagine a EV with 300 mile range.
Equivalent to a 30 mpg car with a 10 gallon tank. If it is stuck in traffic it could use half of its range relatively quickly.

Lithium mining is not always an environmentally sound process and could thwart large scale battery production.
Charge infrastructure is not the only issue.
 

Qapla

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An incentive to encourage EV cars and the Auto Train would be to provide charging for EV's on the Auto Train. While it would not be practical for them to fill the ICE cars up while traveling, they could plug in the EV's during the trip.
 

me_little_me

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I owned two EVs back in the 90s with lead acid batteries. Range is actually determined by the number of power pulses used.
Imagine a EV with 300 mile range.
Equivalent to a 30 mpg car with a 10 gallon tank. If it is stuck in traffic it could use half of its range relatively quickly.
No!

EV In traffic jam
If you are stuck in traffic, the Tesla uses much less power than at high speeds—due to the slow speeds reducing wind and rolling friction.

Traffic jams generally INCREASE range for Teslas, with the best results when you are moving along pretty steadily at speeds around 20–40MPH.

  • Cold temps suck up some power, but what REALLY sucks it up is when you are in a downpour of heavy wet snow and ice. Still, I think the car loses maybe 35% total range in the worst conditions. So that is about 100 miles out of my 310 normal range. Typical winter use of the heater and other accessories uses more like 20%. A/C on the hottest days—more like 10–15% (In Denver, with Window Tint. Phoenix or Vegas would be more).
EXAMPLE

I have been stuck in stop and go traffic more times than I can count on my 40 mile trip to work.

When the traffic is good, I typically leave my home with 234 miles of range (75% charge) and arrive with 194—exactly 40 miles of range used. This is averaging about 55-65MPH. When I get back home, the car is at 154 miles of range—and it takes 1 hour and 50 minutes to charge back up.

When the traffic is bad, and it is stop and go most of the way, I can average as little as 20 MPH—which makes my 40 mile trip take 2 hours. In this case—my mileage goes UP…WAY UP. I put the Tesla on Autopilot and a lot of the time it is stopped, waiting for the car in front of me to move, and it is using pretty much nothing when stopped. When the car is traveling at 20 or 40MPH—it is using very little juice. So, I can arrive at work with it appearing that I have traveled only 20 miles of the actual 40 mile distance. This gives me back 50% of my range, and if I am using heater and accessories, maybe I am typically using 20% range for that. So slowing down usually more than makes up for the heater.
 
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