Daytime Corridor Routes

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Michigan Mom

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MODERATOR NOTE: many of the comments in this thread were split off from another thread "First NEC Sleeper Journey - A Huge Letdown" and were off topic. Thank you for keeping comments on topic.

On the middle-of-the-night LSL boarding times in Ohio.. I have never understood the 9:30 pm departure out of Chicago. Leave 6 hours earlier, board during evening hours in TOL and CLE, arrive NYP around lunchtime.
I'm sure there's a reason, connected to equipment routing, I just don't know what it is.
 
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jiml

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On the middle-of-the-night LSL boarding times in Ohio.. I have never understood the 9:30 pm departure out of Chicago. Leave 6 hours earlier, board during evening hours in TOL and CLE, arrive NYP around lunchtime.
I'm sure there's a reason, connected to equipment routing, I just don't know what it is.
I wonder if times in upstate New York are a factor? That said, they have other alternatives; passengers in Ohio do not (yet).
 

fdaley

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On the middle-of-the-night LSL boarding times in Ohio.. I have never understood the 9:30 pm departure out of Chicago. Leave 6 hours earlier, board during evening hours in TOL and CLE, arrive NYP around lunchtime.
I'm sure there's a reason, connected to equipment routing, I just don't know what it is.
I think the issue is protecting connections from the west coast. The western trains all are due in Chicago in mid-afternoon, so a 3:30 p.m. departure for the east would be cutting it too close, even though that would be a much better schedule for local travel between Chicago, Ohio and the east. Even when the Lake Shore used to leave Chicago at 6 or 7 p.m., it too often wound up being held for connections from delayed western trains, making it late for the duration of its run.

Of course, if we could have a second frequency on the route, an early afternoon departure from Chicago -- and mid-morning arrival in New York -- would make a lot of sense. And westbound, we could have an evening departure from New York, which would offer much more palatable times at Cleveland (7-8 a.m.) and Toledo (9-10 a.m.).
 
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Seaboard92

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On the middle-of-the-night LSL boarding times in Ohio.. I have never understood the 9:30 pm departure out of Chicago. Leave 6 hours earlier, board during evening hours in TOL and CLE, arrive NYP around lunchtime.
I'm sure there's a reason, connected to equipment routing, I just don't know what it is.
Partially because that would take another set of equipment seeing 49/48 is a same day flip. I really doubt Chicago could accomplish a turn in 6 hours. And partially because it is the clean up train east from the western LDs
 

Rasputin

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When was the Chicago departure of the Lake Shore moved back to 9:30 p.m? I am guessing that it was about 2005 but I may be way off.
 

brianpmcdonnell17

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On the middle-of-the-night LSL boarding times in Ohio.. I have never understood the 9:30 pm departure out of Chicago. Leave 6 hours earlier, board during evening hours in TOL and CLE, arrive NYP around lunchtime.
I'm sure there's a reason, connected to equipment routing, I just don't know what it is.
As has been mentioned, moving it 6 hours earlier would eliminate guaranteed connections, move the upstate New York stations to the middle of the night, and potentially require another consist. It could also result in overcrowded conditions at Chicago Union Station and even though it would be an improvement, Cleveland would still be served at 11 PM or so. There's also other scheduling considerations, such as the fact that the schedule would move the Chicago departure prior to the end of the work day (limiting appeal for people on 9-5 work schedules), as well as the fact that it would result in many stations being served with poor hours in one direction but not the other, which could result in people not taking the train either way because the schedule in one direction is undesirable.

Having said that, I'd definitely like to see additional frequencies on this route. Amtrak's plans seem to include day trains from Chicago-Cleveland via Michigan as well as trips from NYC to Cleveland with some operating via upstate New York and others via Pittsburgh. I also think another Chicago-NEC train could work, possibly Chicago-NYC via Pittsburgh with the overnight section between Pittsburgh or Philadelphia or even a daytime schedule, although that would require runtime improvements to be practical.
 

Michigan Mom

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Partially because that would take another set of equipment seeing 49/48 is a same day flip. I really doubt Chicago could accomplish a turn in 6 hours. And partially because it is the clean up train east from the western LDs
That makes sense about the Chicago turn. Do they use the same equipment at NYP? 48 arrives in the evening and 49 departs at 3:40 the next afternoon. Is the long turn time so they can do a more intensive cleaning?
 

fdaley

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That makes sense about the Chicago turn. Do they use the same equipment at NYP? 48 arrives in the evening and 49 departs at 3:40 the next afternoon. Is the long turn time so they can do a more intensive cleaning?
Last I knew, the Lake Shore equipment was pooled in New York with the train sets of the Florida trains and the Crescent. At least that's how it was sold when the consists were standardized back in the '90s. As I recall, the Viewliners were prone to winter plumbing issues in their early days, so cycling them down to the south gave them a chance to fully thaw out before they were sent back out on the Lake Shore route.
 

jis

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That makes sense about the Chicago turn. Do they use the same equipment at NYP? 48 arrives in the evening and 49 departs at 3:40 the next afternoon. Is the long turn time so they can do a more intensive cleaning?
They do not touch the consist for servicing until the morning LD departures from NYP have been dispatched out of the yard. There is no night shift for servicing crew for LD trains at Sunnyside, They went bye bye quite a while back and has been discussed in this forum when it happened.

Sometimes the Lake Shore consist is swapped with a Florida train to send it to Hialeah for servicing or thawing in the winter. However, a Lake Shore consist cannot be used as such without some additional car swapping for any of the other LD trains out of NYP because the Lake Shore consist lacks a Lounge/Cafe car in the form it operates to/from New York.
 
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fdaley

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They do not touch the consist for servicing until the morning LD departures from NYP have been dispatched out of the yard. There is no night shift for servicing crew for LD trains at Sunnyside, They went bye bye quite a while back and has been discussed in this forum when it happened.

Sometimes the Lakeshore consist is swapped with a Florida train to send it to Hialeah for servicing or thawing in the winter. However, a Lake Shore consist cannot be used as such without some addition car swapping for any of the other LD trains out of NYP because the Lake Shore consist lacks a Lounge/Cafe car in the form it operates to/from New York.
Thanks for the more up-to-date information.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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So just as a reminder, a few years back there was plans to change the services around. The plans put forward were:

A) Switch departure time at Chicago between the LSL (Lake Shore Limited) and the CL (Capital Limited)
B) Run one or both LSL, CL thur Michigan.
C) Have a few cars split off the CL at Pittsburg to run to NYC.

All these plans were removed on the Web site several years ago.
 
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jis

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So just as a reminder, a few years back there was plans to change the services around. The plans put forward were:

A) Switch departure time at Chicago between the LSL (Lake Shore Limited) and the CL (Capital Limited)
B) Run one or both LSL, CL thur Michigan.
C) Have a few cars split of the CL at Pittsburg to run to NYC.

All these plans were removed on the Web site several years ago.
Of these, I got the impression that the idea about swapping Chicago departure times and running the LSL via Michigan came within weeks of implementation, and was then scrapped since apparently timetable issues could not be worked out with all concerned parties.
 

Just-Thinking-51

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So close, but so far. Really not sure if I would push this change of departure times myself, but adding Michigan service is something I would be interested in seeing.
 

jis

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So close, but so far. Really not sure if I would push this change of departure times myself, but adding Michigan service is something I would be interested in seeing.
Running the LSL via Michigan almost has the corollary that the schedules need to be swapped. Otherwise the Boston section gets into Boston way too late into the night.
 

railiner

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Running the LSL via Michigan almost has the corollary that the schedules need to be swapped. Otherwise the Boston section gets into Boston way too late into the night.
I would rather see the LSL remain on its traditional route, regardless of what time. If they want to fool around with sending a thru train thru Michigan, let 'em do it to the Capitol. JMHO...
 

bratkinson

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I think the biggest problem with routing either the LSL or Cap through Detroit is it would add about 4 hours to the total travel time either way. Westbound, lose an hour+ TOL-DET (Dearborn?), and then approximately follow train #351's schedule to Chicago with its 7 stops and single track vs 3 stops on (more busy) double track as it is today.

Eastbound, with current CHI departure times, would put the Cap into WAS about 5 PM (possibly breaking connections with the Slivers and the Crescent assuming it might be 2 hours late) or the LSL into NYP WELL after dinnertime, making getting transportation to passengers homes problematic...possibly missing the last LIRR trains to 'way out there' on Long Island, for example. It would be around midnight arrival in BOS with no connections to any train at that hour.

Move the Eastbound departure times 4 hours earlier, and most of trains from the west will no longer connect. Remember, Chicago arrival & departure times are set up for good connections between LD trains from the east with the west and vice versa.

Similarly, westbound, 4 hour later arrival times would jeopardize connections to the western trains, especially #7 & #21. Make those departures from NYP and WAS 4 hours earlier and you lose connections from the Silvers and Crescent as well. Remember, ideally, one wants a 4 hour connection LD to LD in CHI and WAS as 2-3 hours late is all to common these days.
 

Cal

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I think the biggest problem with routing either the LSL or Cap through Detroit is it would add about 4 hours to the total travel time either way. Westbound, lose an hour+ TOL-DET (Dearborn?), and then approximately follow train #351's schedule to Chicago with its 7 stops and single track vs 3 stops on (more busy) double track as it is today.

Eastbound, with current CHI departure times, would put the Cap into WAS about 5 PM (possibly breaking connections with the Slivers and the Crescent assuming it might be 2 hours late) or the LSL into NYP WELL after dinnertime, making getting transportation to passengers homes problematic...possibly missing the last LIRR trains to 'way out there' on Long Island, for example. It would be around midnight arrival in BOS with no connections to any train at that hour.

Move the Eastbound departure times 4 hours earlier, and most of trains from the west will no longer connect. Remember, Chicago arrival & departure times are set up for good connections between LD trains from the east with the west and vice versa.

Similarly, westbound, 4 hour later arrival times would jeopardize connections to the western trains, especially #7 & #21. Make those departures from NYP and WAS 4 hours earlier and you lose connections from the Silvers and Crescent as well. Remember, ideally, one wants a 4 hour connection LD to LD in CHI and WAS as 2-3 hours late is all to common these days.
So it seems like the optimal schedule is the one, or close to the one we have currently. However a second LSL service that runs through Michigan instead could possibly work (if equipment was available)
 

Tlcooper93

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Well, yes. It's a fun hobby to complain about Amtrak management, but they aren't totally stupid. :)

Sometimes I think we forget that Amtrak has professionals working to find the optimal schedules, while retaining access to the best possible date sources. Its unsurprising that they often come up with the least offensive schedule (for the resources they have).

While there may be some on this forum who are qualified to critique Amtrak's schedules and suggest poor management, I am not one of them.
 

fdaley

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Still think the way to go would be to revert to the old timetable that had the 'Lake Cities' do a cross-platform transfer at Toledo, and leave the through trains alone.

I made the cross-platform transfer at Toledo back in the late '80s and early '90s, and it worked fine. I would rather see that restored than to reroute one of the through trains and thereby lengthen the schedule substantially for through travelers. One challenge is that the new station in Detroit is not well located for continuing onward to Toledo.
 

bms

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I made the cross-platform transfer at Toledo back in the late '80s and early '90s, and it worked fine. I would rather see that restored than to reroute one of the through trains and thereby lengthen the schedule substantially for through travelers. One challenge is that the new station in Detroit is not well located for continuing onward to Toledo.
There is already daily service from Chicago to Detroit via the Wolverine, Buffalo to New York via the Maple Leaf, and Pittsburgh to New York via the Pennsylvanian. I would much rather bridge the gap between Detroit and either Pittsburgh/Buffalo by extending one or more of those trains, rather than messing with an existing long-distance route. I think a section of the Maple Leaf could continue to Detroit, or there could be a cross-platform transfer at Buffalo to a Buffalo-Detroit train.

If not for the international borders, the fastest Chicago to New York route would probably be the Wolverine route from Chicago to Detroit, then crossing Southern Ontario before following the Lake Shore Limited route from Buffalo to New York.
 
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