Broadway Limited/Three Rivers History & Why It's Important

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Philly Amtrak Fan

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As you can probably tell, I'm very passionate about direct Amtrak service between Chicago and Pennsylvania along the Horseshoe Curve route.

I currently live in the Philadelphia area and have family in Chicago. My parents live in Northeastern PA and I was a student at Penn State. My rough count is I have taken eight trips between Chicago and Pennsylvania or Trenton, NJ (it's closer to Bucks County than 30th St. Station) with three of these trips continuing to California. I have used the Philadelphia, Harrisburg, Altoona, and Trenton stations to get to Chicago.

My first trip was on the Broadway Limited (long time ago!). I also took the Three Rivers (both when it combined with the Capitol and when it was separate). But since the Three Rivers ended (2005), I was forced to either connect or take the Cardinal which only travels 3 days per week and takes significantly longer than it would take vs. making a connection. I have tried the connection in WAS and NYP. I may or may not have tried the connection in PGH. The PGH layover is currently almost 4 hours going west and about 2.5 hours going east and the times are very inconvenient in a relatively small (compared to NYP, WAS, or PHL) station where safety could be an issue. In my most recent trip, I missed my connection at WAS which adds to my frustration that I have to make the connection.

Every Amtrak customer wants what's best for them. But remember Philadelphia is the 3rd busiest Amtrak station. Lancaster, PA and Harrisburg are in the top 25. So I believe a direct connection from Pennsylvania to Chicago (and to the west and Texas via Chicago) benefits not just me but many Pennsylvanians.

http://www.amtrak.com/servlet/ContentServer?c=Page&pagename=am%2FLayout&cid=1246041980246

Ideally, service from Chicago to the Northeast should include direct service to each of the major cities along the NEC (Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Washington).

All schedules and details are courtesy of the Museum of Railway Timetables (timetables.org).

In 1995 (April), there were four trains that went from CHI to the NE

Broadway Limited (Chicago to Philadelphia/New York, passing through Akron, Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Harrisburg)

Lake Shore Limited (Chicago to New York or Boston, passing through Toledo, Cleveland, Buffalo, Albany)

Capitol Limited (Chicago to Washington, passing through Toledo, Cleveland, Pittsburgh)

Cardinal (Chicago to Washington/Philadelphia/New York, passing through Indianapolis, Cincinnati, 3 days/week only)

Schedules from the June 1995 timetable (Eastbound only):

BL: CHI 8:55pm, PGH: 7:20am, PHL: 3:29pm, NYP: 5:51pm (915 miles from CHI to NYP)

LSL: CHI 7:15pm, NYP 2:49pm (959 miles from CHI to NYP)

CL: CHI 6;25pm, PGH: 4:55am, WAS: 12:22pm (780 miles from CHI to WAS)

Card: CHI 7:25pm, WAS: 7:05pm, PHL: 9:38pm, NYP: 11:13pm (1154 miles from CHI to NYP, WAS is 225 miles shorter)

If you consider CHI to NYP, the BL is the shortest by miles. The LSL is quicker than the BL but the difference is about 1.5 hours. The BL is way quicker to PHL and NYP than the Cardinal. The CL is way quicker to WAS than the Cardinal.

Along the NEC, anywhere between PHL and NYP could take the BL or the Card but anywhere between PHL and WAS could only take the Cardinal.

Amtrak cancelled the BL in Sept. 1995. I feel that this was a huge mistake. I would argue that the BL was the most valuable of the four. All four routes have/had stations that are only served by one of these trains. But I feel the stations only served by the BL (HAR, LAN, Akron, Youngstown) were more valuable than the stations unique to the other three trains. Also, the times from CHI to PGH were better on the BL than the CL.

Things Amtrak could've done to save the BL:

1. Cancelled the Cardinal instead. They could've continued to run a train from CHI to CIN (at better hours) and possibly extended the CL south to Charlottesville (or maybe Richmond) to account for Virginia (and it probably would be faster than the Cardinal. BAL would be screwed but they are very close to WAS and can not only take Amtrak but MARC would be faster that way than the Cardinal now) to get to DC. Another possibility would be to change the BL to go from PHL to WAS instead of PHL to NYP to get BAL although you lose New Jersey (Trenton/Newark).

2. Run the LSL exclusively as a CHI-BOS train, cancelling the connection between ALB and NYP. CHI-NYP passengers would have to take the BL and spend 1.5 more hrs on the train that they would've on the LSL. Service would not change for upstate NY between BUF and ALB. The only passengers that would be screwed would be those between ALB and NYP (in 1995, only stops were Hudson, Rhinecliff-Kingston, and Croton-Harmon). I feel HAR and Lancaster (along with Akron and Youngstown) are way more important than the three I mentioned. You could say it's unfair for NYP that they have to take a slower train. But is it more unfair for NYP to have to spend 1.5 more hrs or for PHL to have to spend SEVEN more hours on a slower train?

Either of these changes would probably have saved the BL. I have criticized the Cardinal a lot lately but I probably would have chosen #2 above as ZERO stations would lose all service (they'd all be along the Empire Service) as opposed to train stations along the Cardinal losing service. I would still do #1 over cancelling the BL (as long as CHI-CIN and Virginia were taken care of). You can say the stations between CIN and Charlottesville are important but Akron and Youngstown were too).

After the BL was cancelled, here were the possible direct CHI-PA trains:

April 1996: The Three Rivers (Train 46/47) between NYP and PGH was added. These connected to the CL at PGH (train listed as 446/447, similar to 448/449 for CHI-BOS). The time from CHI to PHL eastbound became 6:50pm to 2:51pm with a layover between 5:20am and 7:20am in PGH (although no change of train required). The westbound layover was 10:00pm to 11:57pm (almost half what the current layover is now).

November 1996: The Three Rivers was changed to #40/41 (same as BL). The schedule from CHI to PHL was 9:25pm to 3:55pm, about 1.5 hours faster than via the CL/TR. This train had no sleeper car (just coach) and no dining car (just dinette). The only stations between PGH and CHI were Nappanee, IN and Hammond-Whiting, IN.

October 1998: Fostoria, Akron, Youngstown added to TR. Schedule bewteen CHI and PHL became 9:25pm to 4:53pm (closer to but still shorter than the 446). Pennsylvanian extended to CHI but terminated at PHL Nov. 7, 1998 with drastic time changes. Despite the changes, there were no sleeper available on the Pennsylvanian (since schedule was CHI 6:00am to PHL 12:25am). The Pennsylvanian went through TOL and CLE with way better times for each in both directions.

May 1999: Sleepers available on TR (not available in Oct. 1998 schedule). Meals were NOT included, only coffee, tea, and juice. No dining car (just lounge).

May 2000: Skyline Connection proposed. Would have been similar to TR (sleeper, no meals, no dining car).

Nov. 2001: Skyline Connection not in schedule. Meals included for sleeper cars but no dining car. I personally prefer the lounge car as the dining meals are too expensive but I read that when they removed the dining car from the Silver Star there were many complaints.

April 2003: Pennsylvanian went back to NYP/PGH.

The TR ended in March 2005.

The attached NARP report is from 2004, the last full year of TR service. In 2004, the TR had 149,562 passengers (CL had 176,333). Remember that the TR had no dining car. If the TR had a dining car, could the TR have rivaled the CL? The LSL had 272,203 although that includes both the 48/49 and 448/449. The Cardinal had 86,833 for 3 day service.

Of the 149,562 on the TR, 11.2% traveled from CHI to PHL, 4.7% from CHI to HAR, CHI/Newark 3.6%, CHI/Akron 3.0%, CHI/Lancaster 2.7%, CHI/Altoona 2.1%, Youngstown 1.6%, CHI/Trenton 1.4%. Right now, PHL, Trenton, and Newark can only take the Cardinal for direct service, HAR, Lancaster, and Altoona must connect, and Akron and Youngstown have no service at all. If you add these together, that is over 30% of the TR ridership (or roughly 45,000 passengers) that traveled to CHI to that now must either take the Cardinal, transfer, or can't get to Chicago (or anywhere else) at all.

In addition, 7.9% of TR passengers traveled from CHI to PGH while only 3.0% of CL passengers went from CHI to PGH. So more CHI/PGH passengers preferred the TR to the CL. So the number of TR passengers traveling to CHI was about 1/3 and for all the TR is superior to other choices.

At least one person said to me that the BL/TR is not needed because you can always transfer from CL to the Pennsylvanian at PGH. I would say about 45,000 passengers would disagree with you. Remember this is more than half of the entire Cardinal ridership (and that includes city pairs that either are already served by other trains or those that can be accommodated by other means).

Some people didn't like when I said one train or one population "deserved" a direct train more than others. Instead of saying deserved, let me say I feel the TR is more valuable to Amtrak than the Cardinal (and the numbers can certainly argue such) and if they had to choose between the TR and Cardinal to save, I would've saved the TR (although I would still rather make the LSL exclusively a CHI-BOS train and save the Cardinal).

My proposed CHI to NEC:

Liberty Limited: CHI to NYP/PHL via Akron, PGH, HAR

Lake Shore Limited: CHI to BOS (no NY) via TOL, CLE, BUF, ALB

Capitol Limited and Cardinal: No change.

I like the Liberty name because of the Statue of Liberty and the Liberty Bell. Plus Liberty Limited (LL) is a great alliteration.

So I still feel the BL or TR (or even a CL/Penn with a layover in PGH of 2 hours or less) is necessary. No one wants to cancel a train or cut back service of a train but I feel the BL or TR is more valuable than some options that still exist and I would cut some service if it meant bringing back the BL or TR. You of course may disagree and that's what this forum is for so I welcome it.

NARPtrains2004.pdf
 

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jebr

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Every Amtrak customer wants what's best for them. But remember Philadelphia is the 3rd busiest Amtrak station. Lancaster, PA and Harrisburg are in the top 25. So I believe a direct connection from Pennsylvania to Chicago (and to the west and Texas via Chicago) benefits not just me but many Pennsylvanians.
Sounds like a great reason to advocate to your state legislature for that train!

Things Amtrak could've done to save the BL:

1. Cancelled the Cardinal instead. They could've continued to run a train from CHI to CIN (at better hours) and possibly extended the CL south to Charlottesville (or maybe Richmond) to account for Virginia (and it probably would be faster than the Cardinal. BAL would be screwed but they are very close to WAS and can not only take Amtrak but MARC would be faster that way than the Cardinal now) to get to DC. Another possibility would be to change the BL to go from PHL to WAS instead of PHL to NYP to get BAL although you lose New Jersey (Trenton/Newark).

2. Run the LSL exclusively as a CHI-BOS train, cancelling the connection between ALB and NYP. CHI-NYP passengers would have to take the BL and spend 1.5 more hrs on the train that they would've on the LSL. Service would not change for upstate NY between BUF and ALB. The only passengers that would be screwed would be those between ALB and NYP (in 1995, only stops were Hudson, Rhinecliff-Kingston, and Croton-Harmon). I feel HAR and Lancaster (along with Akron and Youngstown) are way more important than the three I mentioned. You could say it's unfair for NYP that they have to take a slower train. But is it more unfair for NYP to have to spend 1.5 more hrs or for PHL to have to spend SEVEN more hours on a slower train?
1 still removes CIN - NEC service. 2 lengthens the trip for the largest station in America and for Amtrak. I'm not sold that that's the best sacrifice to make.

So I still feel the BL or TR (or even a CL/Penn with a layover in PGH of 2 hours or less) is necessary. No one wants to cancel a train or cut back service of a train but I feel the BL or TR is more valuable than some options that still exist and I would cut some service if it meant bringing back the BL or TR. You of course may disagree and that's what this forum is for so I welcome it.
Why does it have to be "two hours or less" if the trip time is still competitive? As long as there's through cars, you don't have to get off the train there if you don't want to.

I get why you want to restore the BL or TR. It's very beneficial to you and people in your area. That's fair. But if you want to advocate for a train, you're going to get a lot more supporters if don't advocate cutting other trains to make it happen, especially if that results in dramatically decreased service (or removal of all service) to those stations and people near those stations.
 

jis

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You can pretty much forget about any passenger train going through Akron and Youngstown on ex-B&O CSX. It was actually a wonder that they did for that relatively short period, and it was nice while it lasted. It might happen again if Ohio becomes willing to spend some significant money on that specific route. But I suspect there are several other routes that would have higher priority in Ohio's list of things to do. Otherwise Alliance will remain their only access point to Amtrak for those cities.

I having lived in NJ until last year and will vouch for the fact that the absence of BL is only a minor inconvenience since New York is within easy reach of all of the NEC (and other NJT except Atlantic City line) points via NJT. Most people in north and central Jersey have to take NJT anyway to get to either Newark or Trenton to catch Amtrak LD trains. Going to New York instead is really no big deal.

Notwithstanding all that, I would love to see the Broadway restored. Realistically it won't get to run on ex-B&O CSX via Fostoria, but will get to run via Cleveland on the route that the Cap uses. That is life. But I would be vehemently opposed to canceling another existing LD route to achieve that. I believe I know a lot of people in the rail advocacy community, and frankly I cannot think of anyone who would not oppose the cancellation of the Cardinal or the LSL New York section.

After the Viewliner II order is delivered I believe it will be possible to restore through service via PGH consisting of a couple of Coaches and one or two Sleepers without needing to negotiate new slots. That is currently the best hope of getting PHL - CHI single seat service. Anything else is just different levels of fantasy.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Every Amtrak customer wants what's best for them. But remember Philadelphia is the 3rd busiest Amtrak station. Lancaster, PA and Harrisburg are in the top 25. So I believe a direct connection from Pennsylvania to Chicago (and to the west and Texas via Chicago) benefits not just me but many Pennsylvanians.
Sounds like a great reason to advocate to your state legislature for that train!

Things Amtrak could've done to save the BL:

1. Cancelled the Cardinal instead. They could've continued to run a train from CHI to CIN (at better hours) and possibly extended the CL south to Charlottesville (or maybe Richmond) to account for Virginia (and it probably would be faster than the Cardinal. BAL would be screwed but they are very close to WAS and can not only take Amtrak but MARC would be faster that way than the Cardinal now) to get to DC. Another possibility would be to change the BL to go from PHL to WAS instead of PHL to NYP to get BAL although you lose New Jersey (Trenton/Newark).

2. Run the LSL exclusively as a CHI-BOS train, cancelling the connection between ALB and NYP. CHI-NYP passengers would have to take the BL and spend 1.5 more hrs on the train that they would've on the LSL. Service would not change for upstate NY between BUF and ALB. The only passengers that would be screwed would be those between ALB and NYP (in 1995, only stops were Hudson, Rhinecliff-Kingston, and Croton-Harmon). I feel HAR and Lancaster (along with Akron and Youngstown) are way more important than the three I mentioned. You could say it's unfair for NYP that they have to take a slower train. But is it more unfair for NYP to have to spend 1.5 more hrs or for PHL to have to spend SEVEN more hours on a slower train?
1 still removes CIN - NEC service. 2 lengthens the trip for the largest station in America and for Amtrak. I'm not sold that that's the best sacrifice to make.

So I still feel the BL or TR (or even a CL/Penn with a layover in PGH of 2 hours or less) is necessary. No one wants to cancel a train or cut back service of a train but I feel the BL or TR is more valuable than some options that still exist and I would cut some service if it meant bringing back the BL or TR. You of course may disagree and that's what this forum is for so I welcome it.
Why does it have to be "two hours or less" if the trip time is still competitive? As long as there's through cars, you don't have to get off the train there if you don't want to.

I get why you want to restore the BL or TR. It's very beneficial to you and people in your area. That's fair. But if you want to advocate for a train, you're going to get a lot more supporters if don't advocate cutting other trains to make it happen, especially if that results in dramatically decreased service (or removal of all service) to those stations and people near those stations.
Agreed on your point. I am assuming that Amtrak does not have the money at this point to connect the CL and Pennsylvanian as they proposed in the PIP or it would have happened within 5 years of being proposed. Right now I and everyone else is telling Amtrak to "spend more money" and no company wants to hear that. So the question is do you sacrifice some service for what you believe is better service? I think you do and there is precedence (1997 Western changes).

Or maybe I should come at it in a different angle. I feel Amtrak SHOULD NOT have cut the BL in 1995 and the TR in 2005 and there were other cuts that could have been done instead to save the BL or TR. No one wanted to cut service in 1995 or 2005 but something obviously HAD to be cut.

So the question should really be do you agree with Amtrak's decision to cut the BL and TR or was there a cut in service that would have been less harmful to Amtrak customers as a whole? Feel free to argue cutting the BL/TR was the right decision those years.
 

jebr

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Looking at the other routes that are here today, I do think eliminating the Broadway Limited and Three Rivers did the least amount of damage to the national rail system. Even the towns that no longer have service are within an hour's drive of another rail station (at least based on my cursory glance.) While many stations lost direct service to Chicago, there are many transfer opportunities available that are easy and convenient; if the long distance train is late there's Regionals almost every hour from either New York or Washington, DC, so a "missed connection" is not nearly as bad as it could be many other places (or reducing padding between, say, Chicago and the Florida trains, if we're looking at eliminating either the CL or the LSL.)

Switching the LSL to Chicago - Boston only would not have helped the finances enough to keep either the Broadway Limited or the Three Rivers. Eliminating the Cardinal might have, but also puts people from those stations over three hours from the nearest Amtrak station. If Amtrak is to be a national rail service, eliminating the Cardinal would be a bad move in helping to connect the nation.
 

jis

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The only other viable choice to cut something without placing anyone more than an hour's drive from some other service would have been the Capitol Limited, but hey that was too important for Amtrak staff to shuffle back and forth between Washington and Chicago. :)

Actually once the BL was cut in the 90's the whole situation was so thoroughly mismanaged that the cancellation of the TR was pretty much a foregone conclusion quiet a while before it actually came to pass. Gunn was trying to salvage the bits that he could from Warrington's grand plans and the shambles he left behind.

Frankly it is not clear to me that cutting the BL in 95 was the right decision. It is possible that simply reverting back to the Cap as a section of the BL as it was before may have salvaged more, but at the cost of having Cumberland, Martins burg, Harper's Ferry and Connelsville losing service.

Yeah getting rid of the New York section was a complete non-starter of an idea. Basically it was a plan for screwing the best performing of the Chicago to New York trains to serve something else. It would have impacted voer 25% of its better performing part of the ridership. Totally impractical IMHO.
 

Eric S

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There are a lot of reasons that the Capitol Limited-Pennsylvanian through cars have not happened yet - not just Amtrak's unwillingness to do so (although that may certainly play a role). CSX trackwork and tunnel work put everything on hold for a period of time. Lack of cars is still a challenge, until all the new Viewliners are delivered and in service. As Jis pointed out either here or elsewhere, the necessary trackwork has not taken place at the PGH station (blame Amtrak, blame NS, blame PennDOT, take your pick). Massive delay problems on NS last year certainly didn't help things.

I don't think one can just say, well, Amtrak hasn't done anything yet, so that means they won't ever do anything to get the CL-Pennsy cars up and running.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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The only other viable choice to cut something without placing anyone more than an hour's drive from some other service would have been the Capitol Limited, but hey that was too important for Amtrak staff to shuffle back and forth between Washington and Chicago. :)

Actually once the BL was cut in the 90's the whole situation was so thoroughly mismanaged that the cancellation of the TR was pretty much a foregone conclusion quiet a while before it actually came to pass. Gunn was trying to salvage the bits that he could from Warrington's grand plans and the shambles he left behind.

Frankly it is not clear to me that cutting the BL in 95 was the right decision. It is possible that simply reverting back to the Cap as a section of the BL as it was before may have salvaged more, but at the cost of having Cumberland, Martins burg, Harper's Ferry and Connelsville losing service.

Yeah getting rid of the New York section was a complete non-starter of an idea. Basically it was a plan for screwing the best performing of the Chicago to New York trains to serve something else. It would have impacted voer 25% of its better performing part of the ridership. Totally impractical IMHO.
One thing I thought of was changing the CHI-WAS route to go through HAR and PHL (and BAL via PHL) instead of its current route between PGH and WAS. While this would result in a fairly significant increase in time between CHI and WAS (and kill any train traffic between PGH and WAS), you would get to keep direct service to most of Pennsylvania east of PGH and add service to BAL. I probably felt this was worse than cancelling the ALB/NYP route of the LSL or making changes to the Cardinal.

Let me summarize my "Cardinal" plan for clarification and so everyone can evaluate the full details before dismissing it. My plan would be:

1) Eliminate the full Cardinal route.

2) Establish a CHI-IND-CIN route and change the times to make them more convenient to IND and CIN. This route would be daily. Currently, only CHI-IND is daily by the Hoosier state. My proposal would give CIN daily service to IND and CHI at a more convenient times.

3) Extend the CL south to Charlottesville along the current Cardinal route to continue to serve those areas along it. If you use the 2015 times along the CL and Cardinal, CHI-Charlottesville now is 5:45pm to 3:10pm. Charlottesville to WAS is 3:19pm to 6:19pm.

Right now, the CL is scheduled to arrive in WAS at 1:05pm. If you add 3 hours and then an extra half hour for adjustment in WAS, that would make the train arrive in Charlottesville around 4:35pm. That's over an hour later than the Cardinal arrives now but the CL leaves almost an hour later than the Cardinal so the change is negligible. Since Charlottesville is the last city on the extended CL, all other cities on the route would see similar if not better travel times than they do now on the Cardinal and the service would still be direct although on a different route. Plus, I've now added CLE and PGH direct service to these Virginia cities that doesn't exist now. Finally, the CL would be daily service to the WAS-Charlottesville corridor while the Cardinal is still 3 days a week.

Of course there are clear service cuts with my plan but there also were clear service cuts in eliminating the BL completely as well. Which cuts are less painful or would hurt revenue more? You tell me.

I feel Amtrak made their choice in 1995 and they never really wanted to fully support the route even after reintroducing it. They first did the 446/447 approach, then they split the train but originally had no sleepers, then sleepers but no meals included, then meals included but no dinner car. Essentially, I feel Amtrak never wanted the TR to succeed so that the next time they "had" to cut a train it would be the TR and they could justify it. Amtrak also could've easily brought back the BL name but decided to keep the TR name. Remember Broadway is an obvious New York reference while Three Rivers obviously is a Pittsburgh reference. I believe this did not help the trains popularity either except in PGH where you can argue it did succeed. You can say the TR was the worst performing of the routes in 2005 but I will argue it was because Amtrak was setting it up to fail and be the fall guy rather than have to sacrifice its precious Cardinal or one of the other two routes (including cutting the ALB/NYP portion of the LSL).

I don't know how the BL was competing with the CL or Cardinal in 1995 but I would bet it would be on par with them if the BL was given a fair chance to succeed. I do have data that support that while the TR was behind the CL in 2005 it was comparable (especially considering it was at a disadvantage when competing with the CL). People will always say that if the Cardinal was a daily train that it would produce equal to if not better numbers than the CL (or TR). But I feel that there's a reason why the Cardinal was always a 3 day train and not a daily train and it's because it's in general a less popular (and slower - and there is no debate about this) train.

Don't forget the fact that even in the TR or CL/TR trains that there were (for every timetable I looked at) two daily PGH-PHL trains. Since they took away the TR, there has only been one. Don't think that is not significant either when discussing what to cut.

If Amtrak decides to bring back a full CHI-PHL-NYP train separate from the CL I feel it should have a Philadelphia name to promote it as a Philadelphia train. You can't really promote it as a Pennsylvania train because Pennsylvanian is already taken (so is Keystone). If New York and Boston have the LSL and Washington has the CL, then let this train be Philly's train. The "Liberty" name would serve both Philly (Liberty Bell) and NY (Statue of Liberty). But if Amtrak doesn't want a name relating to New York and risk making NYP customers feel they have an alternative to the LSL (which I feel they may have due to the BL name never coming back), "Liberty Bell" could be used in the name. Or how about "Independence"? "Freedom?" "Ben Franklin"? I think "Cheesesteak" is pushing it.
 

Bob Dylan

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Asked and answered! Never mind!
 
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greatcats

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Many of the OP's points have merit, but I think it more important to be concerned about retaining what we have at present. Several months ago I rode coach Chicago-Pittsburgh on 30 and then Business class on 42 to Trenton. While the current Pittsburgh station does not win awards, I don't think it is a bad place at all. I did enjoy the ride across Pennsylvania that day, but if I had to do it again, either coach or sleeper, would just take the Cap to Washington.
 

Thirdrail7

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Philly Fan:

You may be passionate about this and have no problem advocating "taking a train from someone else" but you are leaving out important details. the states involved had every opportunity to lobby to save their trains and they chose not to.

Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and until recently Indiana fought any attempts to eliminate the Cardinal. Ohio was quite ambivalent about the Broadway and even less enthusiastic about the Three Rivers both of which were run for the passengers but the meat and potatoes of the route had to do with mail connections and contracts. Check out the amount of mail those trains used to carry!

As others have noted, the loss of those trains were the lesser of the evils when it came to preserving connections (the CL), serving a fast route with a decent population center (The LSL) and preserving connections to towns that had little options and lobbied for their train (the Card.)

Like it or not, Amtrak is subject to the political whims of those who fund it. Either the train can help sustain itself or there needs to be a compelling reason to run it. The Broadway didn't have the political clout to save it from the cutbacks and the Three Rivers died when the mail, express and road railer service wasn't around to prop it up.
 
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Philly Amtrak Fan

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Philly Fan:

You may be passionate about this and have no problem advocating "taking a train from someone else" but you are leaving out important details. the states involved had every opportunity to lobby to save their trains and they chose not to.

Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and until recently Indiana fought any attempts to eliminate the Cardinal. Ohio was quite ambivalent about the Broadway and even less enthusiastic about the Three Rivers both of which were run for the passengers but the meat and potatoes of the route had to do with mail connections and contracts. Check out the amount of mail those trains used to carry!

As others have noted, the loss of those trains were the lesser of the evils when it came to preserving connections (the CL), serving a fast route with a decent population center (The LSL) and preserving connections to towns that had little options and lobbied for their train (the Card.)

Like it or not, Amtrak is subject to the political whims of those who fund it. Either the train can help sustain itself or there needs to be a compelling reason to run it. The Broadway didn't have the political clout to save it from the cutbacks and the Three Rivers died when the mail, express and road railer service wasn't around to prop it up.
Damn politics!
 

Thirdrail7

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Damn politics!
Indeed! I was around for the cut of the Broadway and I must say there was a great deal of shock. From a business perspective, everything I stated above holds true. However, of your four trains to CHI at the time, the Broadway had the best OTP. It was quite reliable and served as a second train to PGH.

Meanwhile, the LSL would go tank every winter. It was extremely unreliable when the Broadway was cut. The lake effect snow would wreak havoc on the equipment. It still does actually. As such, a great deal of resources went to service recovery so my thought was kill the LSL.

However, NY fought for their train.
 

afigg

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Let me summarize my "Cardinal" plan for clarification and so everyone can evaluate the full details before dismissing it. My plan would be:

1) Eliminate the full Cardinal route.

2) Establish a CHI-IND-CIN route and change the times to make them more convenient to IND and CIN. This route would be daily. Currently, only CHI-IND is daily by the Hoosier state. My proposal would give CIN daily service to IND and CHI at a more convenient times.

3) Extend the CL south to Charlottesville along the current Cardinal route to continue to serve those areas along it. If you use the 2015 times along the CL and Cardinal, CHI-Charlottesville now is 5:45pm to 3:10pm. Charlottesville to WAS is 3:19pm to 6:19pm.
Why do all of your suggestions to bring back the BL/TR over some route start with eliminating or cutting another LD train? Your idea of turning the LSL into a CHI-BOS train only with no split running to NYP shows you fail to appreciate the importance of the NYC market to Amtrak. And it is a proposal that would not free up any equipment.
With regards to #2, are you aware of the 750 mile rule that requires any service route of less than 750 miles be subsidized by one or more states? Extending the Hoosier State or a renamed name for a CHI-IND-CIN corridor service is an absolute non-starter so long as Kasich is Governor of Ohio.

Extending the CL to Charlottesville doesn't work at all because the service yard for the CL is Ivy City yard at WAS. Trunign the CL around at CVS isn't going to work. It also does not support the CVS to PHL, NYP and CVS to WV, OH, IN city pairs. There is also the issue of capacity into VA in the afternoon while VRE is taking up slots, but I'll leave that alone.

Why not simply propose restoring the BL/TR in some form once the 130 Viewliner II cars are finally delivered? Although it would help a lot for Amtrak eastern LD service improvement options if Amtrak were to find the funds to order 5 to 10 more Viewliner II sleeper car from CAF before the production run closes out. For additional single level coach and cafe cars for LD trains, there is the possibility of upgrading some of the Horizon cars used in the Midwest to Amfleet II seating once the Horizons are freed up by the arrival of the corridor bi-level cars from Nippon-Sharyo.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Damn politics!
Indeed! I was around for the cut of the Broadway and I must say there was a great deal of shock. From a business perspective, everything I stated above holds true. However, of your four trains to CHI at the time, the Broadway had the best OTP. It was quite reliable and served as a second train to PGH.

Meanwhile, the LSL would go tank every winter. It was extremely unreliable when the Broadway was cut. The lake effect snow would wreak havoc on the equipment. It still does actually. As such, a great deal of resources went to service recovery so my thought was kill the LSL.

However, NY fought for their train.
When you say kill the LSL I assume you mean the portion of the train from ALB to NYP. I think eliminating CHI-BOS direct service would be just as bad as eliminating CHI-PHL daily service (I had to say daily so the Cardinal fans don't get mad at me).
 

Thirdrail7

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Damn politics!
Indeed! I was around for the cut of the Broadway and I must say there was a great deal of shock. From a business perspective, everything I stated above holds true. However, of your four trains to CHI at the time, the Broadway had the best OTP. It was quite reliable and served as a second train to PGH.

Meanwhile, the LSL would go tank every winter. It was extremely unreliable when the Broadway was cut. The lake effect snow would wreak havoc on the equipment. It still does actually. As such, a great deal of resources went to service recovery so my thought was kill the LSL.

However, NY fought for their train.
When you say kill the LSL I assume you mean the portion of the train from ALB to NYP. I think eliminating CHI-BOS direct service would be just as bad as eliminating CHI-PHL daily service (I had to say daily so the Cardinal fans don't get mad at me).
I'm explaining my thought process at the time the decision was made. In my mind, if budget cutbacks called for eliminating one of the four CHI-NYP trains, my choice (if it actually mattered) would have been to kill the entire LSL and preserve the Broadway Limited.

Even the Broadway didn't really connect to anything, the Lake Shores terrible winter woes made it too unreliable. The Lake Shore was a nightmare during this time period so my thought process was "how are you eliminating a train that is reliable and rarely causes troubles for the troubled Lake Shore??"
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Why do all of your suggestions to bring back the BL/TR over some route start with eliminating or cutting another LD train? Your idea of turning the LSL into a CHI-BOS train only with no split running to NYP shows you fail to appreciate the importance of the NYC market to Amtrak. And it is a proposal that would not free up any equipment.
Why not simply propose restoring the BL/TR in some form once the 130 Viewliner II cars are finally delivered? Although it would help a lot for Amtrak eastern LD service improvement options if Amtrak were to find the funds to order 5 to 10 more Viewliner II sleeper car from CAF before the production run closes out. For additional single level coach and cafe cars for LD trains, there is the possibility of upgrading some of the Horizon cars used in the Midwest to Amfleet II seating once the Horizons are freed up by the arrival of the corridor bi-level cars from Nippon-Sharyo.
I am operating under the premise that in 1995 and 2005 that something had to be cut to save the BL/TR and was just thinking of ways that the BL/TR could have been saved. Does it really matter now? Of course not, the decision has been made. But I am just debating that there were other options. Whether those options are preferred to just eliminating the BL/TR is a matter of opinion. I am just expressing mine, I don't expect everyone to agree with me. I do feel I should have the right to express my opinions though and that the rest of you also should have the right to disagree.

If Amtrak can and is willing to restore the BL/TR without sacrificing service along another line, I am all for it. I fear money is the reason that Amtrak does not want to do so and if money is the reason why they don't want to or can't restore the BL/TR then could we cut service to free up money to fund the BL/TR?

I'm operating under the premise that Amtrak has a limited budget and cannot afford to have the BL or TR. If that is wrong and the holdup is really the equipment and not the budget, I will eagerly await the new equipment and the new service. However, even if service is re-implemented along the CHI-Keystone route I fear that the route will once again be the first thing that goes if they are again forced to make cuts (which probably is inevitable one day). So I do feel the need to justify the route as essential and not just a luxury. I don't like to pit one train or route vs. another any more than any of you do. But I am willing to defend the CHI-Keystone route at the expense of other routes I find less "essential" if the need be (and in 1995 and 2005 it was the case).
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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Philly Fan:

You may be passionate about this and have no problem advocating "taking a train from someone else" but you are leaving out important details. the states involved had every opportunity to lobby to save their trains and they chose not to.

Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and until recently Indiana fought any attempts to eliminate the Cardinal. Ohio was quite ambivalent about the Broadway and even less enthusiastic about the Three Rivers both of which were run for the passengers but the meat and potatoes of the route had to do with mail connections and contracts. Check out the amount of mail those trains used to carry!

As others have noted, the loss of those trains were the lesser of the evils when it came to preserving connections (the CL), serving a fast route with a decent population center (The LSL) and preserving connections to towns that had little options and lobbied for their train (the Card.)

Like it or not, Amtrak is subject to the political whims of those who fund it. Either the train can help sustain itself or there needs to be a compelling reason to run it. The Broadway didn't have the political clout to save it from the cutbacks and the Three Rivers died when the mail, express and road railer service wasn't around to prop it up.
If Kentucky was serious about Amtrak, why didn't they fight harder to save the Kentucky Cardinal which served Louisville and would've benefited more of the population of KY than the actual Cardinal does.
 

jphjaxfl

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When Amtrak started, the Broadway LTD and National LTD were the main east-west trains. There was no train to Chicago west of Buffalo until a 1 year experimental train was started. At that point, what is now the Cardinal was a Chicago-Washington/Newport News train named the George Washington/James Whitcomb Riley. The Broadway operated from New York to Chicago via Pittsburgh and the former PRR route. The National Limited operated from Washington to St. Louis via Harrisburg and Pittsburgh. The trains exchanged through cars in Harrisburg. The demise of the Broadway came about earlier than its discontinuance when the PRR line through Fort Wayne was downgraded by Conrail in favor of the former NYC route via Buffalo and Cleveland.
 

Thirdrail7

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Philly Fan:

You may be passionate about this and have no problem advocating "taking a train from someone else" but you are leaving out important details. the states involved had every opportunity to lobby to save their trains and they chose not to.

Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky and until recently Indiana fought any attempts to eliminate the Cardinal. Ohio was quite ambivalent about the Broadway and even less enthusiastic about the Three Rivers both of which were run for the passengers but the meat and potatoes of the route had to do with mail connections and contracts. Check out the amount of mail those trains used to carry!

As others have noted, the loss of those trains were the lesser of the evils when it came to preserving connections (the CL), serving a fast route with a decent population center (The LSL) and preserving connections to towns that had little options and lobbied for their train (the Card.)

Like it or not, Amtrak is subject to the political whims of those who fund it. Either the train can help sustain itself or there needs to be a compelling reason to run it. The Broadway didn't have the political clout to save it from the cutbacks and the Three Rivers died when the mail, express and road railer service wasn't around to prop it up.
If Kentucky was serious about Amtrak, why didn't they fight harder to save the Kentucky Cardinal which served Louisville and would've benefited more of the population of KY than the actual Cardinal does.
Um...because the Kentucky Cardinal was basically nothing more than a mail train that was used to justify Amtrak's mail and express service to Louisville. It was way slower than competing buses or highways, ran in the middle of the to accommodate the mail contracts. Much like your ill fated Three Rivers, the train was useless as delivered. As such, when it was time to pull the plug, no one fought to finance it....which is the exact thing that happened to your precious Broadway and Three Rivers. When the mail and express business dried up, so did the train.

Kentucky DID fight for the Cardinal and rightly so. They had partners in West Virginia, Virginia and Indiana. As such, it was a team effort and costs could be spread out between Amtrak and the states involved.

You seem unwilling or unable to come to terms with the fact that Ohio and Pennsylvanian failed to put their political muscles and funds behind the trains that were eliminated. There were options and they were not chosen.

The fact the Kentucky failed to finance the Kentucky Cardinal is as relevant and meaningful as you saying that Massachusetts wasn't serious Amtrak because they failed to finance the Cape Codder....which was primarily their train.
 
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jis

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Massachusetts actually found a much better and more viable service from Boston South Station to Cape Cod by rail too. it just happens not to involve Amtrak.

Pennsylvania's fundamental problem is that the western half of the state really does not care much for trains of any sort. They are just willing to suffer through one Pennsylvanian funded by the state. The Cap just happens to run through western PA and as long as someone else is paying for it they are happy to tolerate it and use it. And of course there is the LSL that barely scratches the northwest corner of PA at Erie. Until urban Eastern PA together with small pockets in Pittsburgh, Alttoona and such develop enough political muscle to stare down the rural west and center, i don't see things changing a lot. There is too much backlog around Philadelphia and the Keystone Corridor, where also lies the maximum bang for the buck, that will eat up a majority of the available funds.

Rightfully PA should have 3 to 4 frequency a day between Harrisburg and Pittburgh and a rich Thruway interconnection California style, together with service to Lehigh Valley and up Susquehanna Valley both from philly and New York/Newark. But that is all a wonderful dream that is unlikely to come to pass unless there is a significant political upheaval in PA.
 

Thirdrail7

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Massachusetts actually found a much better and more viable service from Boston South Station to Cape Cod by rail too. it just happens not to involve Amtrak.
The Cape Codder is different service from the Capr Flyer that is currently in service. Amtrak was and is not a local service provider except where contracted as such. That being said, the Cape Codder in the form I am referring to was direct service between NYP-HYA.

Such a service does not currently exist.
 

Philly Amtrak Fan

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You seem unwilling or unable to come to terms with the fact that Ohio and Pennsylvanian failed to put their political muscles and funds behind the trains that were eliminated. There were options and they were not chosen.
Oh I accept it. Doesn't mean I have to like it and doesn't mean I have to think it's fair. To me, fair would be to choose routes and service that maximize ridership and revenue. But of course there are other issues to consider.
 

jis

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Massachusetts actually found a much better and more viable service from Boston South Station to Cape Cod by rail too. it just happens not to involve Amtrak.
The Cape Codder is different service from the Capr Flyer that is currently in service. Amtrak was and is not a local service provider except where contracted as such. That being said, the Cape Codder in the form I am referring to was direct service between NYP-HYA.

Such a service does not currently exist.
I know. But what is not clear is the actual existance of a viable NYP HYA market. Secondly, it is quite clear that MA's interest in such a service would be relatively peripheral when compared to the BOS - HYA market. Given limited funds they are likely to fund the latter way more than the former. So it is no surprise that they were pretty ambivalent about it as you noted earlier. It is possible that whatever market there is could be satisfied adequately and much less expensively by running a Thurway bus or two from PVD to HYA.
 
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