Is restoration of the National Limited feasible?

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Fenway

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This is my holy grail, a train from New York to Los Angeles that does not involve Chicago.

I believe it can work

natltd51575.jpg
 

Ziv

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A direct cross continental train would be very cool. I would definitely pay to ride it at least once. Not sure how many others would, or where the equipment would come from. But a non-Chicago NY-LA route would be a nice option.
Not sure what the route would be from Kansas City to LA. Would it follow the same route as the Southwest Chief? Two trains a day over that route would add options for travelers. Maybe bring back the name Super Chief?
This won't happen in todays environment, but it is entertaining to think of what might be, and how much fun it would be to ride.
 
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As I recall the National Limited suffered due to bad former PRR track through Ohio and Indiana which resulted in delays and poor ridership which caused it to be on the chopping block during the 1979 Carter cuts.

The Tester amendment to the Surface Transportation Investment Act, later rolled into the Bipartisan Infrastructure Act, required the DOT to study the restoration of several trains notably the North Coast Limited but also the National Limited. I have not heard anything as to whether this study is ongoing and what the timeline is.
 

Anthony V

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West of Dayton, OH it will have to take a different route because the Panhandle route it used is abandoned between there and Indy. The problem is that there is no feasible alternative for that portion of the route. According to a map released last month, the proposed study has the route going southwest from Dayton to Cincinnati, on to Louisville, and westward from there to St Louis and Kansas City via the River Runner route.

Btw, here is a great find on YouTube: a film video of the National Limited taken in the summer of 1979 in Brookville, OH. The tracks in the location of this video are abandoned today.
 

Trogdor

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The most realistic option would be (which was briefly studied a few years ago as part of the PRIIA charade) to send the Cardinal to St. Louis, where it could possibly connect with the River Runner or operate its own frequency to Kansas City and offer connections to the Southwest Chief.
 

jis

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The most realistic option would be (which was briefly studied a few years ago as part of the PRIIA charade) to send the Cardinal to St. Louis, where it could possibly connect with the River Runner or operate its own frequency to Kansas City and offer connections to the Southwest Chief.
Three of the seven options considered included a St. Louis termination point. Two were re-routing away from Chicago to St. Louis and one was splitting the train into a Chicago and St. Louis section. Eventually the selected alternative was daily service to Chicago replacing the Hoosier state between Indy and Chicago.
 
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Honestly, two routes between Columbus and STL, one via Indy and one via the Ohio river, would be great, especially for the connections to the national network and interconnections between unconnected cities they would offer.
 

jis

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Going back to the question of whether a National Limited is feasible today in terms of availability of routes, our friend @Seaboard92 had posted a very detailed post last year which can be found at:


After ones head stops spinning from the exquisite details, it is clear that it will require a bit of work to work around the outages in the Panhandle Route between Pittsburgh and Columbus. Of course, there are several possible other alternatives too.
 
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Northwestern

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How about restoring the LA Limited, Omaha to LA. It would mean Wyoming would have Amtrak stations and Salt Lake City arrival times that are reasonable. Maybe add on the Butte Special, Salt Lake City to Butte, MT.


(Just kidding)
 

Cal

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West of Dayton, OH it will have to take a different route because the Panhandle route it used is abandoned between there and Indy. The problem is that there is no feasible alternative for that portion of the route. According to a map released last month, the proposed study has the route going southwest from Dayton to Cincinnati, on to Louisville, and westward from there to St Louis and Kansas City via the River Runner route.

Btw, here is a great find on YouTube: a film video of the National Limited taken in the summer of 1979 in Brookville, OH. The tracks in the location of this video are abandoned today.

Do you know what city that is in? I would absolutely love to go to Google maps and see what the area looks like today.
 

danasgoodstuff

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Given the realities of late by freight, a true cross-country through train by any route seems impractical. But a way (or three) to connect cross country without having to go through Chicago seems like a good idea if we've ever going to have something that's truly a 'National Network'.
 

Cal

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Given the realities of late by freight, a true cross-country through train by any route seems impractical. But a way (or three) to connect cross country without having to go through Chicago seems like a good idea if we've ever going to have something that's truly a 'National Network'.
Apparently people here have forgotten about New Orleans. Not the best routing option, but still possible.
 

joelkfla

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Given the realities of late by freight, a true cross-country through train by any route seems impractical. But a way (or three) to connect cross country without having to go through Chicago seems like a good idea if we've ever going to have something that's truly a 'National Network'.
There is a cross-country connection bypassing CHI: it's NYP-NOL-LAX. Takes an extra night, and a night's hotel stay in NOL.
 

danasgoodstuff

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There is a cross-country connection bypassing CHI: it's NYP-NOL-LAX. Takes an extra night, and a night's hotel stay in NOL.
Yes, but not exactly straight across. Nothing north-south between the Cascades and the CONO is an issue too, but the geography, the population, and the available rails make that even tougher than new east-west routes.
 

Siegmund

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Video is notable to show how Amtrak's equipment shortages have persisted across time. A major long-distance train, serving NYC and a half dozen other big cities, with one sleeper and an amdinette. Arrival of Superliners temporarily eased the Heritage sleeper shortage, though it seems to me a few eastern LD trains still had Amfood in the mid 80s.

As much as I'd like to see the National come back, I can't imagine it will do so until there is a big investment in Ohio (and if CCC service comes to pass, I might well do NYC-Pittsburgh-Columbus-Cincinnati-St. Louis rather than Indianapolis.)
 
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Yes, but not exactly straight across. Nothing north-south between the Cascades and the CONO is an issue too, but the geography, the population, and the available rails make that even tougher than new east-west routes.
There's also nothing north-south between the CONO and the eastern seaboard, which has a much bigger (if some similarly sized cities) population and less area than the west does.
 
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Video is notable to show how Amtrak's equipment shortages have persisted across time. A major long-distance train, serving NYC and a half dozen other big cities, with one sleeper and an amdinette. Arrival of Superliners temporarily eased the Heritage sleeper shortage, though it seems to me a few eastern LD trains still had Amfood in the mid 80s.
I rode the National Limited in the 1977-1978 timeframe from NYC to Paoli along with a friend who rode to Lancaster. I don't recall how many sleepers it had but it still had a Heritage diner at that point which we had dinner at (one reason we chose that train). As I recall the two of us plus one older lady were the only people in the dining car even though it was dinnertime, and of course we were all seated at one table.
 
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