Could Amtrak service between LA and Las Vegas be profitable?

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JermyZP

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Amtrak has proposed a LA to Las Vegas route on the amtrak corridor expansion plan. I think that having slow services during the day competing with brightline west is not possible unless there are premium amenities. The amtrak train to Las Vegas would have to have a lounge and dining car with both coach and business classes. Unless they change there plans to be a over night train then I think it could be profitable?
 

George Harris

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finally! Back in Mississippi
1. It will be years before Brightline is running, so competition with Brightline is not a factor in anything starting sooner than 10+ years in the future.
2. Profitability of night trains? Nope, not since shortly after WW2.
 
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JermyZP

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Amtrak connect US plan would take up to 15 years to complete. So I think brightline west would be in service when the corridor opens. If brightline west doesn't work out then that would be a 7 hour ride, base on desert wind time table, with no dinning car and lounge, just a cafe car. I'm predicting that Amtrak is not going to spare there lounge and dining car for a non-long distance train and use Amfleets.
 

sttom

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It could be, but if the funding needs Nevada's cooperation, I'm dubious it will happen. Nevada's rail plan doesn't include publicly funded trains to Vegas. They're eggs are all in the Brightline basket. They do want added trains to Reno though, which isn't on the 2035 map and the CCJPA has decided to cancel.
 

joelkfla

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Remember Brightline depends upon CAHSR to get out of LA. At the rate CAHSR is going, the probability is more on the order of not in our lifetime.
They're planning to connect with Metrolink to Rancho Cucamonga. That's about an 80-minute ride from LA.

 
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Dakota 400

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Am I incorrect in remembering that there was once a Los Angeles to Las Vegas daily service? Was it on Amtrak? Or UP? Or, am I simply wrong?
 

WWW

No real RR Job
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The airline flight from LAX to LAS is just over an hour with added 1.5 hour check-in and the TSA crap
So you are on the strip in about just over 3.xx hours - - -
Now about the train - it is going to have to be competitive - real competitive perhaps a tie in with the B-I-G name hotels
Speed and features will be of essence - none of this freight rail delaying stuff - - - - -
 

Eric S

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"A Los Angeles – Las Vegas route run by Amtrak nearly entered service in 2000. A Talgo VII trainset was bought for the service in 1999; when it was not implemented, the trainset was later used on the Amtrak Cascades service.[8]"

I knew they made some headway, but how close is "nearly"?
I want to say that there was an agreement with UP on what infrastructure improvements (additional or lengthened sidings, I think) were needed but those improvements got held up due to environmental concerns. I don't remember if funding for those improvements was fully lined up, though. Of course, it could be that I'm not exactly remembering things correctly, either.
 

jiml

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I want to say that there was an agreement with UP on what infrastructure improvements (additional or lengthened sidings, I think) were needed but those improvements got held up due to environmental concerns. I don't remember if funding for those improvements was fully lined up, though. Of course, it could be that I'm not exactly remembering things correctly, either.
That tallies with my vague recollection. I thought they had a deal with the hosts (mostly UP), but the project fell apart for either environmental or NIMBY concerns. Other than a couple of stale threads on Trainorders there's not a lot of history on this proposal.
 

west point

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Jermy.: Your question is a slippery slope.
1. Direct operating costs= Fuel, track charges, car & loco miles, engineers, conductors, OBS, may be close to profitable. That depends on Amtrak marketing the service properly and adding enough total capacity to spread the above costs. That means no Toonerville trolley but a full size train of 12 - 15 cars to cover the 2 or 3 non revenue cars.
2. Then you add in allocated costs which I'll break down into two categories. The first would be spreading costs of LAX agents, baggage mem, and LAX maintenance onto the train . As well a route manager and staff and space for offices. That probably would put into non profit.
3. Fully allocated costs then rear their ugly head. Amtrak Headquarters , reservations , Legal, OIG, IT, training personnel ., ETC. Spreading those to any train always seems to put that train in the red. But to counter that those costs to another train reduces the allocated costs to all other trains.

A real slippery slope. IMO congress should set up Amtrak so that the back office expenses are separated out from operating costs. The advantages for more service then become more apparent.
 

Willbridge

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Jermy.: Your question is a slippery slope.
1. Direct operating costs= Fuel, track charges, car & loco miles, engineers, conductors, OBS, may be close to profitable. That depends on Amtrak marketing the service properly and adding enough total capacity to spread the above costs. That means no Toonerville trolley but a full size train of 12 - 15 cars to cover the 2 or 3 non revenue cars.
2. Then you add in allocated costs which I'll break down into two categories. The first would be spreading costs of LAX agents, baggage mem, and LAX maintenance onto the train . As well a route manager and staff and space for offices. That probably would put into non profit.
3. Fully allocated costs then rear their ugly head. Amtrak Headquarters , reservations , Legal, OIG, IT, training personnel ., ETC. Spreading those to any train always seems to put that train in the red. But to counter that those costs to another train reduces the allocated costs to all other trains.

A real slippery slope. IMO congress should set up Amtrak so that the back office expenses are separated out from operating costs. The advantages for more service then become more apparent.
Rolling fixed overhead costs into simple per mile or per hour operating costs has been a long-running evil in the public transit field, justified by the tedious calculations in pen and ink ledger books. In both Edmonton and Denver we got better results in expansions or contractions with spreadsheets by allocating an annual fixed cost per peak bus (based on observation of what happened to system budgets during booms and busts). That was added to hourly costs and mileage costs.

There are people who like the simpler and misleading way of rolling everything together on rails or roads. When there are rapid changes their budget will be blown.
 
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