Future ideas for Atlantic Coast Service

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west point

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I suppose the Palmetto fits that pattern. When it ran to Jacksonville, the ridership between Jacksonville and Savannah was pretty thin, due to the early/late hour....
Yes JAX<>SAV not so good but the Meteor and Star covers that leg very well. Now just have Palmetto arrive JAX south bound at midnight and north bound at 2300. Schedule layover JAX 2:00. That way both daily inspections can be performed. Then a complete catering and servicing as well. Intermittent catering could also be done for Meteors and Stars. Will not interfere with Auto Train.

SB ORL arrive 0500 NB Leave ORL 2000. Makes for good connections to all cruise ships all way to MIA. Maybe even be a second service to TPA?

Now equipment. It will take 2 additional equipment sets for a total of 4 same as the present Star and Meteor. See no way for any sleepers and diners for at least 7 years. Then maybe even longer as the next LD route will be the Southern Crescent Texas Star. Depending on loads and final destinations of its cars that route might require 36 - 50 additional cars. Cars do not grow on trees especially Amtrak's un wiliness to refurbish present cars.









D
 
President of ESPA (Empire State Passenger Association) Gary Prophet has posted on Facebook that the Star becomes a Florida to Chicago train via Washington DC starting Sept 6th. I have no idea what his source is, but it suggests that there might indeed be something to it. Then again it is possible that he is speculating based on observed facts like some of us are.
Not yet able to book, so maybe.
Just to throw this out there for discussion, any thoughts on reconfiguring the Palm back to a sleeper equipped train to provide a second Florida train from NY?
It would be nice but the times in Florida would be tough. Unless they mess with the timetables.
 
Not yet able to book, so maybe.

It would be nice but the times in Florida would be tough. Unless they mess with the timetables.
If memory serves the mid-90’s early-00’s Silver Palm/Palmetto departed Miami at 5pm and arrived around noon. So I don’t think they would have to adjust the times too much to make it work. I think the biggest obstacles are equipment availability and getting permission to run another train along the A-Line in Florida.
 
Although it would add time to the schedule, rerouting the Silver Star between Columbia, SC and Savannah, GA to serve Augusta, GA could pick up some additional ridership for that train. This would especially be true during the annual Masters Golf Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club, as many fans would now have the opportunity to travel to the tournament by train.
 
Just to throw this out there for discussion, any thoughts on reconfiguring the Palm back to a sleeper equipped train to provide a second Florida train from NY?
I would love it if they extended the Palmetto back to Miami. It would be nice to have an overnight train across Florida. If it was an extension of the existing train, it would’t have much of an impact on the CSX.

As for the Carolinian, I would like to see it extended to Atlanta. And maybe some day on to Montgomery and Mobile…
 
As for the Carolinian, I would like to see it extended to Atlanta. And maybe some day on to Montgomery and Mobile…
Why would Amtrak want to take a perfectly good corridor train that has enough timekeeping problems as it is and turn it into another long-distance train that would have even more opportunities to have even bigger timekeeping problems, which would severely reduce its utility for people traveling to and from North Carolina? Considering that the State of North Carolina is paying for this train, I don't think there's any interest to turning it into a long distance train.
 
If memory serves the mid-90’s early-00’s Silver Palm/Palmetto departed Miami at 5pm and arrived around noon. So I don’t think they would have to adjust the times too much to make it work. I think the biggest obstacles are equipment availability and getting permission to run another train along the A-Line in Florida.
You have to consider central Florida times. Having a long distance train end up Miami at noon when the travel times are:
5 hrs 40 direct from Orlando
7 hrs 48 through Tampa
May not be the best idea.

Edit: the above time are for the palmetto, we are bouncing between two different trains in this discussion.
 
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Why would Amtrak want to take a perfectly good corridor train that has enough timekeeping problems as it is and turn it into another long-distance train that would have even more opportunities to have even bigger timekeeping problems, which would severely reduce its utility for people traveling to and from North Carolina? Considering that the State of North Carolina is paying for this train, I don't think there's any interest to turning it into a long distance train.
Does NC cover the cost of the Carolinian beyond its border? If so, then I’d probably agree with your viewpoint. If not, then I would say, Amtrak should be able to extend it south at Amtrak’s expense. Or maybe just make it into a “long distance” train, and let NC add another regional within its borders at their expense, if they so desire…🤷‍♂️

You have to consider central Florida times. Having a long distance train end up Miami at noon when the travel times are:
5 hrs 40 direct from Orlando
7 hrs 48 through Tampa
May not be the best idea.
An extension of Train 89 would arrive Miami at around 9:30 AM, based on the Meteor’s route. Similarly, an extension of Train 90 would depart Miami at about 8:00 PM…
 
Does NC cover the cost of the Carolinian beyond its border? If so, then I’d probably agree with your viewpoint. If not, then I would say, Amtrak should be able to extend it south at Amtrak’s expense. Or maybe just make it into a “long distance” train, and let NC add another regional within its borders at their expense, if they so desire…🤷‍♂️
Carolinian is an NC funded train which would cease to exist if NC defunded it. Amtrak cannot just take it over willy-nilly. Of course Amtrak could start an additional train of its own to go to wherever via whichever route they wish and the CSX/NS gods permit, but that seems highly unlikely at this time, at least until the drawn out FRA and/or CorridorID exercise leads to some legislation, state or federal, with funding to do so.
 
So NC pays the cost of that train beyond its border? I did not know that, and am surprised to learn it…🤔
Irrespective of whether it pays for it outside NC it does pay for it in NC and it cannot be changed without their permission as the contract is for the route for a joint funding agreement. At least that is how it has been explained to me. Keystones to NY have similar agreement. PennDOT specifies where those trains stop in NJ.
 
Irrespective of whether it pays for it outside NC it does pay for it in NC and it cannot be changed without their permission as the contract is for the route for a joint funding agreement. At least that is how it has been explained to me. Keystones to NY have similar agreement. PennDOT specifies where those trains stop in NJ.
Another "surprise"...you would think NJT might be party to that. Didn't NJT have some agreement with Amtrak on the operation of the commute hour "Clocker's", years back? IIRC, they worked it out that NJT commuter passes would be honored on those, until NJT added some service to replace those trains as far as Trenton.
 
NJT is interested in taking people to Manhattan, not much else, and not to Philly - Harrisburg. NJT is not going to pay Penn DOT to add Keystone train stops in New Jersey. NJT subsdized Clockers for $10 million a year until it added 3 NJT frequencies north of Trenton to take their place. Clockers are gone and forgotten.

As for the Carolinian, I believe Virginia gets a free ride because North Carolina subsidizes it south of DC.

If this Ancora thing happens at NS, things will go from bad to worse.
 
Given the lack of timetables and that I don't feel like researching the reservation system to figure it out, just asking those familiar what if one of the Piedmont round trips with N.C. equipment were extended to DC or just Richmond, same platform connection to a NE Regional train in either case - would that work ?
 
I agree. Actually I believe that irrespective of what happens with the Star it is time to consider doing a second Carolinian, about two hours displaced from the current one. It will require pushing the current one an hour later northbound in order to stay clear of the Star. But it would work otherwise.

As for timeslots on the NEC, there are plenty of those outside of the rush hours. Both on the NEC in general and Hudson Tubes and Penn Station NY in particular.
I love to hear the agreement on a second Carolinian! It's also great to learn from those in the know that there's plenty of timeslots on the NEC outside of rush hours. With the runaway success of its trains, and this potential change with the Star, I would be surprised if NCDOT doesn't examine its options sooner rather than later.

I agree totally that it's time to consider a second Carolinian no matter what happens with the Star--very needed. Two hours displaced from the current one makes sense to me, and pushing things later plus having another frequency between CLT and RGH would help provide more options later in the day between the two cities. That's assuming the 4 Piedmont frequencies would get moved as well. For example, the current latest departure from RGH to CLT is 5:30 p.m., which is very early and precludes some special event travel. The 7:45 p.m. CLT to RGH Piedmont is very useful in that regard.
 
Given the lack of timetables and that I don't feel like researching the reservation system to figure it out, just asking those familiar what if one of the Piedmont round trips with N.C. equipment were extended to DC or just Richmond, same platform connection to a NE Regional train in either case - would that work ?
Truth be told, the biggest challenge will be getting CSX to agree to another passenger train through the Selma - Rocky Mount - Petersburg gauntlet. All this will become much much easier once the Petersburg - Raleigh SEHSR Line is in service.
 
NJT is interested in taking people to Manhattan, not much else, and not to Philly - Harrisburg. NJT is not going to pay Penn DOT to add Keystone train stops in New Jersey. NJT subsdized Clockers for $10 million a year until it added 3 NJT frequencies north of Trenton to take their place. Clockers are gone and forgotten.

As for the Carolinian, I believe Virginia gets a free ride because North Carolina subsidizes it south of DC.

If this Ancora thing happens at NS, things will go from bad to worse.
NC is interested in having the Carolinian run beyond its state borders because I suspect the state wants to have the connectivity from NC to Virginia and Washington DC, at least, and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the NEC. For the same reasons, they **might** be interested in having some sort of Raleigh to Atlanta Service, or maybe even extend the Carolinian to Atlanta so that Rocky Mount, Wilson and Selma-Smithfield can get connectivity to Atlanta, but this increases the chance of delays on the extended route which reduces the utility of the train to passengers are just traveling between Charlotte and Raleigh.

I would think that the State of North Carolina has no interest in funding part of a New York - Mobile/ Montgomery long distance train. Such as train would have to be an overnight train in any event (the current Carolinian takes almost 14 hours to get from New York to Charlotte hours just to get to Charlotte. A New York - Atlanta/Montogomery/Mobile train would definitely need a different schedule as well as sleeping cars and food service. It would probably also nerve most of the North Carolina stations at a inconvenient hour. That's why I think that any day service to Atlanta via Charlotte is probably better off terminating on the north end and Washington DC or Richmond, or Raleigh.
 
Considering that effectively there will be a loss of a through train to NY from North Caroline with the Star terminating in WAS, it may be time to consider the possibility of a second Carolinian. I believe that irrespective of what happens with the Star it is time to consider doing a second Carolinian, about two hours displaced from the current one. It will require pushing the current one an hour later northbound in order to stay clear of the Star. But it would work otherwise.

As for timeslots on the NEC, there are plenty of those outside of the rush hours. Both on the NEC in general and Hudson Tubes and Penn Station NY in particular.

As for Atlanta, it is unlikely that much more service will be added to Atlanta until a new station is constructed there. In any case any day train to Atlanta from the NE will probably have to wait until the SEGSR between Richmond/Petersburg and Raleigh goes on line.
 
Truth be told, the biggest challenge will be getting CSX to agree to another passenger train through the Selma - Rocky Mount - Petersburg gauntlet. All this will become much much easier once the Petersburg - Raleigh SEHSR Line is in service.
If the loss of a one-seat ride between Raleigh and NYC is a big issue, I suppose Piedmont 72 could leave Charlotte an hour earlier and run to Selma, meet both Palmettos, and run back as a later 77. On paper it's interesting because Selma has two platforms and the 29 miles between Raleigh and Selma are state-owned and covered in ~30 minutes by the Carolinian. But I don't think the numbers work. Maybe 10-20 riders per day for a lot of complication.
 
A second Carolinian just needs a slot across the Long Bridge. The best way for a second Carolinian is to make it part of a day departure from ATL @ ~ 0600 to CLT and follow the Carolinian route. As well the second Carolinian a later departure from NYP. Amtrak could maybe use this 2nd to take place of a Richmond regional eliminating need for new Long Bridge slot. Maybe add coaches at Richmond for regional traffic?
 
NC is interested in having the Carolinian run beyond its state borders because I suspect the state wants to have the connectivity from NC to Virginia and Washington DC, at least, and, to a lesser extent, the rest of the NEC. For the same reasons, they **might** be interested in having some sort of Raleigh to Atlanta Service, or maybe even extend the Carolinian to Atlanta so that Rocky Mount, Wilson and Selma-Smithfield can get connectivity to Atlanta, but this increases the chance of delays on the extended route which reduces the utility of the train to passengers are just traveling between Charlotte and Raleigh.

I would think that the State of North Carolina has no interest in funding part of a New York - Mobile/ Montgomery long distance train. Such as train would have to be an overnight train in any event (the current Carolinian takes almost 14 hours to get from New York to Charlotte hours just to get to Charlotte. A New York - Atlanta/Montogomery/Mobile train would definitely need a different schedule as well as sleeping cars and food service. It would probably also nerve most of the North Carolina stations at a inconvenient hour. That's why I think that any day service to Atlanta via Charlotte is probably better off terminating on the north end and Washington DC or Richmond, or Raleigh.
I can guarantee NC people want a NY train. I don't know if NC was early in the 750-mile game, but it purchased rolling stock, unlike VA, as far as I understand it.

Outside of train business, Raleigh has vied to be and is part of the NEC. It invested in the Research Triangle orders of magnitude above anything VA did. I've heard research people (who keep a keen eye on grants etc.) make the comparison, and paint the scale of VA's efforts as more like the booster-ish economic development you have in many places. University builds a business park, etc. City opens an incubator in a storefront. Typical stuff. By contrast the Research Triangle around RGH was a world class investment and it worked. Then came NoVa and the snowballing of the multiplier effect of Beltway Banditry, as it's called (federal contracting), and perhaps the "DMV" (DC/MD/VA) has taken a march on the Triangle in "tech." The best hospitals in the region though are still Duke, Johns Hopkins and UNC.

In any case, there are only two trains a day for RGH on the NEC, and one is from Florida. And they're scheduled backwards if you're in the NEC and have business in the Triangle. Two nights in a hotel, in other words. On the other end of the state is Charlotte, an actual big city, like Atlanta. But connecting to Georgia is not as easy as being in the expanded NEC.

Supposedly slots on the Long Bridge ALX-WAS are full up until the new bridge opens about 2031. (But as has been said, maybe not at night?) One NECR does terminate at Richmond. Hooking that up to RGH is a non-starter because VA wants trains at RVM, which doesn't connect currently to RGH. And there's a conjunction what's your function problem, like people have said, until the S-Line opens from Petersburg to Raleigh (still in preliminary engineering).

Generally, the economy moves quickly now, and this slowpoke approach to building committed plans is counter-productive.
 
Considering that effectively there will be a loss of a through train to NY from North Caroline with the Star terminating in WAS, it may be time to consider the possibility of a second Carolinian.
I wonder if there is an opportunity to add a second Carolinian on the route of the Crescent. Combine it with the afternoon Roanoke train (66/151) at Lynchburg. Presumably the ‘new’ siding at Lynchburg could still be used to facilitate switching. VA and NC would both benefit so maybe share the cost.
 
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