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Changes to the Cardinal

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saxman

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OK, no one has posted about changed to the Cardinal except for a few blurbs in other threads.

So based on what a few other forum members have said, it looks like Amtrak is seriously considering making the Cardinal run daily and put Superliner equipment back on. Obviously this means no more direct service all the way to NYP, but hopefully that will be made up by the daily service.

Also heard they could possibly make St Louis or even Kansas City as the termination point for this train. After Indy, it would simply follow I-70 to STL.
 

TVRM610

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I like the idea. Running a superliner train daily from WAS-STL would be a fantastic idea. Obviously the Hoosier State could still run daily from CHI-Indy (with thru cars from the WAS train).
 

Green Maned Lion

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This will happen the same day it rains up from the ground rather than down from the sky.

Especially the through cars to LA.
 

rrdude

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This will happen the same day it rains up from the ground rather than down from the sky.
Especially the through cars to LA.
Quoting a line from "Dumb and Dumber" here:

So you're saying there's a chance? Yeah!

:cool:
Ever seen the Movie "Forest Gump"? Where Forest is slogging thru the swamps in Vietnam? Rained "up" then. Oh darn, THAT was a movie. I agree on the "one-seat to LAX" not likely, but St. Louis has a scintilla of a chance. They might surprise us.
 

Trogdor

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St. Louis has a chance (maybe a snowball's chance down under, but a chance nonetheless). Kansas City isn't really being considered.
 

VentureForth

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OK, no one has posted about changed to the Cardinal except for a few blurbs in other threads.
So based on what a few other forum members have said, it looks like Amtrak is seriously considering making the Cardinal run daily and put Superliner equipment back on. Obviously this means no more direct service all the way to NYP, but hopefully that will be made up by the daily service.

Also heard they could possibly make St Louis or even Kansas City as the termination point for this train. After Indy, it would simply follow I-70 to STL.
I can't imagine a terminal other than Chicago for the Cardinal. That's where all the staff, equipment and people are. Sure, it'd be nice to shave off the last few hundred miles and keep going West from Indy, but I can't imagine anyone seriously thinking about it.

I wish Amtrak would share the most popular city pairs sold. That would be some real data to work with.
 
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jis

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That's right, STL only and not KCY, since KCY does not add any significant new city pair connectivity. The idea is to create better network connectivity. Of course there are always two possibilities, one is to let the Card run as is to CHI and introduce a daytime corridor-like train from Indy to STL connecting at both ends. The other is to run the Card to STL and run a connecting train to CHI from Indy. From what I heard at the NARP meeting it is the latter that is under more serious consideration.

Incidentally, since last October the Cardinal apparently has had higher ridership per run than the Cap (so if GML had his way he would probably scrap the Cap ASAP :p ), which quite surprised me when it was pointed out to me. Of course, on the CHI east coast market it is the LSL which is the stellar ridership per run performer though the Cap is allegedly a better financial performer because its operating costs are dramatically lower than that for the LSL. On the Atlantic Coast market it is the Silver Star, which again to my utmost surprise, actually beat the CZ in riders per run! This is of course explained by winter being the low season for the CZ and the high season for Star, but still....
 
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Chris J.

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OK, no one has posted about changed to the Cardinal except for a few blurbs in other threads.
So based on what a few other forum members have said, it looks like Amtrak is seriously considering making the Cardinal run daily and put Superliner equipment back on. Obviously this means no more direct service all the way to NYP, but hopefully that will be made up by the daily service.

Also heard they could possibly make St Louis or even Kansas City as the termination point for this train. After Indy, it would simply follow I-70 to STL.
I can't imagine a terminal other than Chicago for the Cardinal. That's where all the staff, equipment and people are. Sure, it'd be nice to shave off the last few hundred miles and keep going West from Indy, but I can't imagine anyone seriously thinking about it.

I wish Amtrak would share the most popular city pairs sold. That would be some real data to work with.
If I've got this right..

It would give St. Louis a direct train to Washington DC (and one-change to the east coast). If they could get the connections at St. Louis right then a whole bunch of passengers South and West of STL can bypass Chicago if they're heading to the east coast.

Indy has would keep the daily Chicago service it has now, and gain daily service to St.L and DC (but lose tri-weekly service to New York) Cincinnati (and everywhere else between Indy and Charlottesville) would lose it's tri-weekly direct service to Chicago and NY, but would gain daily to St. Louis via Indy and DC.

It would cut out the trip into and out of Chicago between St. L and DC - that would be a big win for the network.

Would it require a major change to the Eagle schedule to provide a northbound Eagle to westbound Cardinal and eastbound Cardinal to southbound Eagle connection at St. Louis? I guess the Eagle schedule could all be changed around soon with the Eagle / Sunset plans.
 
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jis

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Would it require a major change to the Eagle schedule to provide a northbound Eagle to westbound Cardinal and eastbound Cardinal to southbound Eagle connection at St. Louis? I guess the Eagle schedule could all be changed around soon with the Eagle / Sunset plans.
Actually more important would be the connection between the westbound Card and the southbound Eagle and vice versa, and apparently that will be available. This add many more city pairs than the other way. Besides it might be easier to retime the last Lincoln Service to provide the northbound connection and the first Lincoln Service to provide the southbound to eastbound connection.
 

Chris J.

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Would it require a major change to the Eagle schedule to provide a northbound Eagle to westbound Cardinal and eastbound Cardinal to southbound Eagle connection at St. Louis? I guess the Eagle schedule could all be changed around soon with the Eagle / Sunset plans.
Actually more important would be the connection between the westbound Card and the southbound Eagle and vice versa, and apparently that will be available. This add many more city pairs than the other way. Besides it might be easier to retime the last Lincoln Service to provide the northbound connection and the first Lincoln Service to provide the southbound to eastbound connection.
I think that was the one I was thinking of; but not the one I wrote :lol:
 

saxman

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If I've got this right..
It would give St. Louis a direct train to Washington DC (and one-change to the east coast). If they could get the connections at St. Louis right then a whole bunch of passengers South and West of STL can bypass Chicago if they're heading to the east coast.
Yes, a direct STL to WAS train.

Indy has would keep the daily Chicago service it has now, and gain daily service to St.L and DC (but lose tri-weekly service to New York) Cincinnati (and everywhere else between Indy and Charlottesville) would lose it's tri-weekly direct service to Chicago and NY, but would gain daily to St. Louis via Indy and DC.
Indy would have daily service to Chicago, St. Louis, Cincinnati, and all points to Charlottesville. It would have daily connections to New York via Washington. So yes, its losing tri-weekly service, but getting daily service instead. :)

Would it require a major change to the Eagle schedule to provide a northbound Eagle to westbound Cardinal and eastbound Cardinal to southbound Eagle connection at St. Louis? I guess the Eagle schedule could all be changed around soon with the Eagle / Sunset plans.
No major changes needed to any other schedules. The northbound Texas Eagle arrives into STL early in the morning. With a mid-afternoon of the supposed new Cardinal, you'd still get the same schedule and arrive into IND late a night.

Going westbound, the current Cardinal arrives into IND early in the morning. I'm guessing another 5 hours from IND to STL, so about a noonish arrival into STL. Plenty of time to catch the southbound Texas Eagle which departs in the evening.

This also gives you time to catch the Missouri River Runner to KCY and then catch the SWC to ABQ and LAX. They would probably have to tweak the MRR schedule going east though. That way you can get off train 4 and be able to get on the morning MRR train. But all this is if you are trying to get to a city between STL, IND and WAS. You'll still have connections in Chicago or the Capitol and Lake Shore.

Again this is all talk, but according to others, Amtrak is seriously considering this move.
 

wayman

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Again this is all talk, but according to others, Amtrak is seriously considering this move.
Another advantage, not yet mentioned: it reduces the load on Chicago by a bit. And given how full the Chicago platforms are, how full the Chicago waiting rooms are, how busy the maintenance crews and station agent are ... that's going to make life for everyone in Chicago (especially passengers) a little nicer.
 

afigg

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Looking at the map and taking a quick look at the schedules, I can see why Amtrak would consider this change if the line from Indy to St. Louis is in good shape and available. What would be interesting to learn is how many people take the Cardinal from WAS or from stations on the NEC all the way to Chicago compared to how many take the Capital Limited from WAS to CHI. If you are in DC and want to take the train to Chicago, you are likely only to take the Cardinal if you are not in a hurry and want to take a different scenic route.

Questions or points about this possible end station move:

1. Are there new station stops in IN or IL along the Indy to St. Louis corridor that Amtrak would add? If I am seeing the correct rail line on Google Earth, looks like it would run through Terra Haute with Indiana State which could get some ridership in both directions.

2. Given poor on-time performance of the Cardinal, does Amtrak lose ridership for people going from Indy northward to Chicago because people don't want to wait on the Cardinal coming in on those 3 days? By making the Hoosier State a daily train and decoupled from the Cardinal, the train can still head north from Indy on the days when the Cardinal is running way behind. More reliable service increases ridership. Also, by providing a stand-alone daily corridor service, Amtrak could work with Indiana to get them to support adding additional daily service to the route or if the Chicago-Indy corridor gets some HSR funding in the next go-around.

3. With the big HSR stimulus bucks being spent on upgrading the Chicago to St Louis line, train ridership in St. Louis is going to get a big boost and turn St. Louis into more of a mini-hub. Could get increased passenger traffic with people going from St. Louis to Indy. Of if the schedules work, people would go from, say, Jefferson City, MO or Kansas City to Indy or stops in between.

Any clue as to what the run time from Indy to St. Louis would be?
 

deimos

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In general - I like the concept. It provides new options for cross country trips (not to mention an excuse to visit St. Louis). As Mr. FSS inquired - are the tracks able to support service? I wonder if Amtrak will set up promotions for the new service - that is of course if it takes shape.
 
M

MikefromCrete

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These changes sound like a good idea. Extending the train to St. Louis opens up new routings, connections. Making the Hoosier State a daily train allows it to run on a consistent timetable. Using Superliners, especially a sightseer lounge would be good on such a scenic route. Breaking the direct run to New York might hurt ridership somewhat, but there would certainly be enough connecting trains available. Operating daily is always better than three times a week.

So, this seems like a winning plan. Does anybody know how serious this talk is? How long would it take to implement such a change? After all, we've talking about the Texas Eagle/Sunset changes for what seem like a year with no definite decision yet and that doesn't invovle new trackage. Would CSX be open to this? (daily running, Indy-St. Louis routing)
 

Mackensen

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Any ideas on what cities between IND and STL would receive a service stop
The last train on the route (the National Limited) stopped in Terra Haute and Effingham. Effingham's still in use, but I have clue what condition the tracks are in. It took about 4 1/2 hours in the 1970s.
 

Larry H.

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I have long lobbied for a St. Louis run going east. This is not a bad idea, combines a scenic route with something that provides more services and the total irritation of having to sit in chicago every time you want to go east. I rode the original amtrak version of the National Limited. It was dreary at best with very limited amenities. Oddly as bad as it was I recall that even though we had coach seats to Indianapolis the train was sold out and the conductor put us in a bedroom for the trip! It must not have been as soar a loser as some seem to recall. The main problem was the track and run times. Hopefully if they do this they will improve the cardinal route tracks eventually as I have heard it is some of the worst riding of all routes out east.

As to the great photos of the train in the station in 1954. Can't help but be impressed with the external cleanliness and general pride the train appears to have been maintained with. I recall the B & O running a lot of ads in the ending days trying to win passengers to their trains, but it proved in vain eventually. I can remember the ads for movies being shown on board. Something way before its time it seemed.

As has been said, the connections are a great benefit. Not so far mentioned is the possibility of it once again opening New Orleans and other points along the City of New Orleans route to a direct rail connection to St. Louis. It would only be of much benefit however if it could be scheduled to not cause excessive layovers in Effingham.
 
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Amtrak839

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Looking at some YouTube railfan videos from Greencastle, IN (between Indianapolis and Terre Haute), it seems that CSX has significant intermodal traffic through there, which is good news. This stack train here is moving at a pretty good pace:

 

jis

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Just before discontinuance, here is what the timetable was for the National limited between Indy and Kansas City:

Code:
11:25a		  Indianapolis, IN		 6:00p

12:50p		  Terre Haute, IN		  4:35p

1:55p		   Effingham, IL			3:30p

4:10p		   St. Louis, MO			1:35p
4:35p									1:10p

5:04p		   Kikrwood MO			  12:43p
6:53p		   Jefferson City, MO	   10:49a
8:03p		   Sedalia, MO			  9:39a
8:36p		   Warrensberg, MO		  9:03a

10:05p		  Kansas City, MO		  7:45a
Transposing on today's Card timetable, it would seem that the westbound would run about 6 hours earlier and the eastbound about a shade under 6 hours later. And of course it'd run only upto Saint Louis and not to Kansas City, allowing a same day turn of the equipment at STL.
 
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